Raised in the neighboring city of Piedmont, architect Mark Jensen, AIA, frequently visited the Oakland Museum of California over the years. In terms of modern architecture, Jensen has always considered the museum to be one of the top ten buildings in the Bay Area, and he was thrilled to be awarded the challenge to design a space where museum staff and visitors could create multiple configurations in response to different events and gatherings.
Describing the project approach, Jensen explains, “You’re writing the script for a play of how life unfolds after you do a building. It’s almost an inside-out way of thinking, making a place for things to happen rather than something to look at from the outside.”
The project was developed as a transformable tool kit serving new public programming and special events at the Oakland Museum of California. Sited in the austere, terraced-concrete entry plaza of the Museum, the project creates an outdoor living room for the community. The installation was conceived as a “wall painting with chairs”; simple metal garden chairs are hung from hooks like chairs in a Shaker house. The composition of chairs and tables suspended on the wall initially creates a strong graphic impression, then comes into three-dimensional relief, and finally expresses itself as an interactive participatory piece.
Mark Jensen, AIA, is Principal of Jensen Architects. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) and furthered his studies in Florence, Italy, working in architectural offices there, including Superstudio, and for the noted Italian fashion designer Enrico Coveri.
Jensen notes, “Our firm is interested in a critical approach to design, engaging contemporary culture and construction techniques in search of design solutions that are elegant, cost effective, and environmentally sensitive.”