Lisboa, Portugal. Who isn't drawn to old power plants? They make good energy museums, and even better contemporary art museums. Usually one or the other. But the Tejo Power Station is both. Art exhibitions share the space with the Museu de Electricidade, which is now part of the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology. A fresh drama of old brick and new whiteness along the Tagus river walk.
The water tower makes a circular billboard venue
A handsome outdoor vitrine for art exhibitions
With almost no signage, the building stands on it's own. A subtle ticket office and entry (seen through the window)
As soon as they enter the electricity museum, visitors are enveloped in a composed musical piece, moody (and catchy) with a rhythmic clang of pipes in the mix. Graphically the museum combines huge red monolith signs with oversize diagrams.
Gobo lighting defines the wayfinding signage.
The only interactive I found here was "accidental", and strange. One control console had a few mysteriously active buttons, one of which activates a dummy figure far above on a catwalk, to call out to his fellow workers.
A contemporary photo exhibition is slipped into one of the corridors, too tight to view at any distance.
Simple white Hanging panels catch the shadows of structure
Interesting use of red photo here makes the alcove feel like a wrinkle in the wall.
The walls in this interactive Electricity space are backlit. The wall mounted interactives have a retro styling.
The plump curved shaping is very approachable.
Did these anthromorphized meters come from another planet?
Power plants are massive, mind boggling, walk-through living diagrams of themselves. Color coding, specific part lighting and placed labels help make it digestible. But the general awe of a building like this is satisfying in it's own right. Sometimes visitors are on a "mindless" stroll, a valid way to experience museums, after all.
This event space, is nicely located, visible from a catwalk, with packing crates as part of the furnishings.
And this activity classroom is located behind the power plant console. A bit of charming old flooring, is left intact.
Beautiful placement of old photographs among the machinery.
Including some gorgeous and delicate small photos.
A dummy figure appears here by surprise, another cause of mixed feelings.
This cathedral like space of the Turbine Hall, is a perfect art venue for Bai Ming's work from China.
They make it look easy, their transition to contemporary art spaces
These are actually very tall green display pedestals, rising from the floor below.
Stairs double as theater seating in a tight space.
The MAAT lounge is also in a great location.
It's a pleasant walk next door to the gradual entry of the new building, designed by Amanda Levete. A gently sloping hill of tile.
MAAT logo, in animation. I like the reverse overlap in the letterforms.
A triangular entry desk leads to a central gallery, shaped like an eye, wrapped by a walkway down to the side gallery entries.
Mirrored doors off the gallery deflect attention and increase the space.
To be honest, due to depressing world news, I didn't feel up to seeing an exhibition on Utopia/Dystopia. It turned out to be unremarkable, in terms of design. But a stroll on the roof is uplifting!