M’ARS Multimedia Arts Center in Abrau-Durso / NOWADAYS Office
Text description provided by the architects. This project to transform part of a former sparkling wine factory into a multimedia art center was inspired by a genuine interest in the history of the building and executed through a series of light interventions – both at the level of the material of the work than of the manner – in space.
MARS, the first contemporary art gallery to be founded in post-Soviet Moscow, now operates as an innovative multimedia art institution. In May 2016, a new MARS center was opened in the middle of the idyllic landscape of Abrau-Durso, a picturesque place in southern Russia. The gallery spans the entire first floor of the stone champagne factory.
The Today team has decided to keep intact the characteristics of its industrial past – factory switches and circuit breakers – and to carry out all interventions in a delicate and respectful manner, preserving the historical layers. All navigation elements designed by a Moscow-based development department of MANEGE are assembled using materials “native” to contemporary multimedia art: LED tubes of various sizes and thin black metal sheets.
While the white box has long been established as the default setting for traditional “low-tech” art forms, high-tech multimedia art generally requires a black box to bring out all of its functionality. But the monotonous black space can bore, tire and disorient the visitor. Today’s office decided to run the gallery project as a sequence of “black” (dark) and “white” (well-lit) spaces, where most of the artwork is stored inside the rooms. (boxes, essentially) that are carefully installed into the existing interior. This approach also serves the purpose of gently incorporating the new into the old.
Some of the pieces serving as containers for artwork are wrapped with chemically treated rainbow steel – a help in emphasizing both the industrial spirit of the space and the ephemeral nature of the artwork. light-based art.
The new concrete floor does not touch the walls, but keeps a polished distance from the historic elements of the building. This space which is filled with gravel collected by the lake also creates nests for soft LED lighting.
The largest intervention is in the hallway, where the registration desk and lockers are fused into a solid steel sculpture, providing an exciting preface to the exhibition.
On the other side – at the end of the exhibition – is a secret room where, due to its geographical orientation, beautiful rays of light create a poetic atmosphere most of the day. There are no artwork, but visitors are encouraged to don one of the VR headsets on offer and take a mock tour of Moscow’s MARS Center. Not a teleportation room, but close enough.
Product Description. One of the most aesthetic materials in this project is galvanized steel. Galvanizing which produces a rainbow effect on the metal surface is normally used to treat small metal elements, such as framing nails, roll angles, etc. to make them durable and rust resistant. We were truly inspired by these multi-colored spots and decided to experiment with the same technology and material but over a larger area – as large as the size of the galvanizing bath allows. For example, our partners, the Moscow-based multifunctional production company Macrofabrica, used galvanizing on steel sheets measuring 1800 x 900 cm. The result was used to make polychrome metal boxes to display individual works of art – to emphasize both the industrial spirit of the space and the ephemeral of the light-based work of art.