«Influence of White Cube Design on the Interiror of White Cube Bermondsey Gallery» - Free Essay Paper

Influence of White Cube Design on the Interiror of White Cube Bermondsey Gallery


The intended style of an architectural building impacts its interior design significantly. For a European art gallery titled White Cube Bermondsey, it is not an exception either. The building is a typical representative of the White Cube design that has experienced some changes, caused by modern architectural trends. The gallery itself originates since the 1970s. However, it was reconstructed by Casper Mueller Kneer Architects in accordance with modern tendencies. With spacious and vast rooms, it is appreciated for hosting big number of visitors and providing them with opportunity to view the art works. This paper will analyze the influence of the White Cube design on the interior of White Cube Bermondsey and the main shifts in its outlook that have resulted from changing the style.

The Impact of the White Cube Design on Bermondsey Gallery’s Interior

A Modern Representation of the White Cube Interior

Nowadays, the White Cube design is familiar to many appreciators of arts and spacious architectural buildings. The main attributes of this style are white walls, plain floors, evenly lit objects, and a minimal amount of basic furniture. In the 20th century, space dimension became more important for the understanding of arts, according to the opinion of Brian O’Doherty, expressed in his book Inside the White Cube. The author claims that modern art works have demanded a deeper understanding and more attention. This has caused a necessity for museums to simplify their interiors and make them more neutral for the visitors. With the introduction of the White Cube design, the relationship between the audience and observed objects has changed.

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Aesthetic Issue of the Design

Visitors accept art works not only for their practical but also aesthetic meaning. A newly adopted design has helped visitors leave everyday routine and enjoy pure forms of arts without external distractions. O’Doherty also defines the main difference of the White Cube style from its predecessors. Thus, the design has a special effect on the viewer when their previous experience becomes blurred and indistinct. Then, the object of appreciation is in some measure isolated from the surrounding world and it leaves the form of spectatorship. As it can be concluded from the aesthetic side of the White Cube design, it helps visitors focus attention on the exhibited objects and perceive their current form without referencing to their past experience.

The Value of the White Cube Interior for People

The interior of White Cube Bermondsey represents a modernized White Cube design and the contemporary preferences of museum’s visitors. In all rooms, one can find square lamps on the ceiling, and the light from them evenly covers exhibited objects and prevents color distortion. The lighting is white, soft and it does not interfere with the process of observation. The gallery serves as an exhibition center for both the appreciators of arts and its learners. There is also an opportunity to combine work with entertainment and spend some time in the office area. The peculiarities of the interior help appreciate the true meaning of art works. To help viewers enjoy the sense of art works in full measure, the workers of the gallery place each object at a meaningful distance from each other. Consequently, visitors feel more concentrated on a work of art and attempt to reveal actual intentions of its author.

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Class Issues Within White Cube Bermondsey

In terms of social classification, the vast territory of the gallery satisfies the needs of the representatives from any social group. The point is that society nowadays is more individualized, and, consequently, each person tries to separate themselves from others. In White Cube Bermondsey, rooms are so spacious that each visitor can enjoy the art works without anyone’s interference, away from the crowd. It also seems that high ceilings are intended not to restrict the viewer in their thoughts and create the impression of unity of a man with the Universe. In general, the specific combination of modern features in architecture and the stylistics of the traditional White Cube design assists each visitor of White Cube Bermondsey in understanding the true meaning of exhibited works and focusing on the artist’s intentions.

Historical Evolution of the White Cube Design

After the detailed description of the current interior, it would be proper to discuss the development of its design as well as historical changes that it has experienced. The roots of the White Cube design can be traced from the 18th century. Thus, the British Museum and the Louvre were the first museums to place the exhibited items at a large distance from each other and in a special arrangement. This technique was believed to provide visitors with an opportunity for a better comparison of art works. Further, such a fashion in architecture spread to Paris salons where artists liked to work. The concept of spacious museums rooms and large halls then expanded to British museums. The example of London’s South Kensington Museum shows that enlarged territories of art rooms have prevented the overcrowding of museums and their audience has been satisfied with vast empty spaces. This change in the design of museum rooms added to art establishments more quality and respect among visitors.

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The Contribution of Cubism to the White Cube Design

Cubism has served as a background for the future White Cube style. Although it is considered by O’Doherty to be a conservative and pragmatic style, Cubism has made a meaningful contribution to the White Cube design and determined its further development. In other words, the essence of Cubism was to simplify the process of observation. Usually, behind a painting, there was a plain wall with no ornament; proportional lighting was used to cover the entire surface of an art work evenly. By contrast, the mostly grey color of Cubist walls differentiates them from the current white gamma. As Cubism was a more conservative style, it had to cool down the emotions and used rather dimmed colors. At the same time, people preferred to surround themselves with bright colors, which increased the popularity of white color among them. These features helped a visitor dive into the deep meaning of a masterpiece and absorb modernist sensitiveness. Another specific line of Cubism that had transferred to the White Cube design was naturalness. Clarity on the paintings, made in this style, delivered to the audience brute reality without decorations and artificial improvements. It can be noticed that the majority of the features of the White Cube design derive from its predecessor. Such dimensions as the ornament of the interior, furnishing, and the square forms transferred from Cubism to the White Cube design and made it more flexible to modern demand.

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Color Issues in the White Cube Design

The evolution of white color and its dominance in the White Cube design also has its peculiarities. Initially, the white color was referred to purity and clarity. This color also served as a neutral background for art works and it did not interfere with the viewers’ perception of these items. The decorators and facilitators of museums did not need to worry about the transition between the color gamma of the paintings and shade of the walls. Therefore, a white interior became quite popular in art buildings. In terms of chronology, this color became a leading one during the post-war period in England and France. Partially, this can be connected with the victory of European countries because white was associated with triumph and the prevalence of goodness.

Early Initiators of the White Cube Design and Their Impact on Its Current Outlook

There are various versions about the first implementation of the White Cube style. Some people believe that the first architectural combination of white color with Cubism was made by the Harvard Art Museum as well as Wadsworth Atheneum in the 1930s. However, the standards were not popularized. Therefore, Alfred Barr is considered to be the initiator of the White Cube design. He wanted the paintings or sculptures to speak for themselves. Therefore, he limited the use of furniture, chose wooden floors, and placed art works at a large distance from each other. As it can be seen now, these features have endured centuries and remained unchanged until nowadays. Consequently, there is a direct and strong relationship between the earlier White Cube design and its presents forms. The spread of this style has helped architectures and museum staff solve an important dilemma. Earlier, exhibition rooms were designed with monumental features. In general, their interior was implied to impress the visitors and make them feel breathless when viewing art works.

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Spatial Layout of the Interior

With many art works in a small museum room, it was difficult for an observer to establish a connection with them. Pompousness and numerous decorations in museum rooms distracted people from the observation of art. The combination of white color and minimalistic Cubism resolved the issue and set the viewers free from materialistic burden. Such a mix of elements informs the audience about the endless layout of space. The architects have achieved their goal to provide visitors with an unlimited territory to enjoy masterpieces. According to the worldwide popularity of Bermondsey gallery and a large number of its analogues in other countries, one can conclude that the historical traits of this design together with modern completions have been successful in presenting a plan of the space and its correspondence to visitors’ needs.

All building of White Cube Bermondsey serve for exhibition purposes and have the same interior. The gallery has three rooms for presentations, private spaces, an office room, a warehouse, a large hall, and a bookshop. With the exception of display rooms and galleries, the rest of White Cube Bermondsey is designed in the same style, thus functionally complementing the gallery. Designed initially for the presentation of art works, the building can now provide its visitors with a wide variety of exhibition halls, a place to work, and a possibility to learn more about arts. The needs of society have become more sophisticated, and people try to combine rest, studies, and work. Therefore, both exhibition and complementary halls correspond to the demand of the public.

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Technical Considerations of the Design

The technical characteristics of the White Cube design remind of its former analogues. Despite the quick-changing demand of today’s society, the popularity of this style has grown in size, partially due to successful technical considerations. As for White Cube Bermondsey, one can see the photos on museum’s website, showing that the building combines both historical features and modern technological innovations. Particularly, the walls are white and the wooden floor is polished as a century ago. Paintings are placed at a considerable distance from each other, interacting with the viewer one on one. Inside the museum, there are also white columns that remind of some antique style and add elegance to the interior. On the other hand, technical equipment makes the building modern and responding to modern needs. Strong white lighting covers the exhibited items evenly and it does not hurt people’s eyesight. The lamps have rectangular form that has also come from the past. Together with the sharp lines of columns and square arcs in the walls, they bring minimalism and determination of forms to the style.

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Influential Patterns of the White Cube Style

Having traced the historical evolution of the White Cube style, its architectural, engineering, and esthetic characteristics, one can discover the main patterns of its influence on White Cube Bermondsey. The prime task of the building was to exhibit art works, and its design had to help visitors understand them better. The principles of Cubism were grounded on the simplicity of forms and minimalistic interior, which served as a foundation for the White Cube style. The change of grey color to white has made the surrounding space of the gallery more ephemeral, and until now, white walls create an illusion that the pictures hang in the air. This color also tells visitors about the purity of art and its sublimity. Cubism also had a principle to place paintings at a large distance from each other, which transferred to the interior of the gallery and helped the exhibitors present each picture individually, thus avoiding the overcrowding of rooms. During the development of the White Cube style, some technical innovations were added to it. This has helped the White Cube gallery accommodate to the needs of modern society and create a unique space for art works. Due to the complex system of lighting, the gallery can exhibit any kind of painting or sculpture in their full color gamma. However, despite the recently added modernistic features, the interior remains a typical representative of the White Cube style and completely follows its major principles.

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The interior of White Cube Bermondsey gallery was noticeably impacted by the White Cube design. As the building was initially designed for the observation of art works, this style helped it visitors focus on the essence of paintings and sculptures. The design itself has developed from Cubism and transformed under the preferences of museum visitors and the innovative approaches of architects. Through the neutral color of walls, minimalistic furnishing, large space of rooms, and a polished floor, the interior of White Cube Bermondsey replicates the origin principles of the White Cube design as well as adds modern features in terms of technical equipment. According to the growing customers’ needs, the gallery has expanded its functions and added space for educational lectures, work, and entertainment. Therefore, the original features of the White Cube design in combination with the technological and aesthetic innovations have made a determining impact on the interior of White Cube Bermondsey gallery and its current popularity.

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