Garrison, New York, USA
Studio Joseph’s Russel & Mary Wright Design Gallery is a structure that echoes the geometry and materiality of Russel Wright’s pieces while imparting the critical role of the living world in his body of work.
The Russel & Mary Wright Design Gallery project has been awarded a 2022 International Architecture Award and a 2022 American Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
The architects embrace Wright’s design genius, unifying a pragmatic approach to content delivery with an organic, formal language, inviting visitors to dive into 20th-century American design, the forces that shaped it, and the interrelatedness of nature, art, and design.
A muted palette sets off the colors and materials in his designs and simultaneously complements the tones of the house.
Dense assemblages of objects, drawn from the collection, represent decades of exploration in form, color, and pattern.
This swirl of objects, furniture, and textiles is set off by the glass wall of the exhibition area, positioning the display firmly within a context of nature, art, and design.
As the only permanent, in-depth public exhibition of the Wrights’ product designs, The Russel Wright Design Center, located at Manitoga, Wright’s home, and studio, is an installation of over 200 objects that tells how the Wrights forged a modern American lifestyle through groundbreaking designs for everyday objects of the home.
The gentle curvature of the gallery installation—domestic in scale and built in the warm-toned natural materials found on the rural site—echoes the geometry and materiality of many Wright designs.
A large display table centers the gallery with a didactic timeline of signature work. The three surrounding walls offer a more purely visual approach based on themes of color, form, and pattern.
The entire display armature is constructed in rift-cut, natural oak. The architects hid all fasteners for the assembly, so there is no visual interference with the objects. The interpretation is informative yet minimal.
Printed on a transparent or translucent substrate, the graphic labels are background elements in conversation with Wright’s designs.
Warm LED lighting creates a soft glow that works with northern light coming through a newly installed glass wall assembly.
For audiences familiar with Wright’s oeuvre, the gallery adds a rich interpretive layer to his designs.
For those new to his work, the exhibition conveys the relationship between the objects Wright designed for everyday use and the architecture and landscape of Manitoga.
For all, the space presents exemplary American design and the forces that shaped it.
The landscape was always an integral part of Wright’s design vision. From inside the gallery, visitors overlook the Quarry Pond—keeping nature front and center and stressing the critical role flora plays in his design. From the woods, the architects see the gallery integrally nestled into the house.
Project: The Russel & Mary Wright Design Gallery
Architects: Studio Joseph
Fabricator: Southside Design and Fabrication
Client: Manitoga / The Russel Wright Design Center
Photographers: Michael Biondo