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Art Crush:

May 8, 2011

Red, White and Hot!

Both red-hot bikes and cool water-works rule at the new MoDA

<p>MoDA’s sleek new building is the perfect envelope for any design object.</p>

MoDA’s sleek new building is the perfect envelope for any design object.

By Nancy Staab

MoDA lives up to its moniker with its sleek and sexy new Midtown space—plus fantasy bath fixtures invade the new venue with the WaterDream exhibit through September 24. Think WC props by the likes of Philippe Starck and Patricia Urquiola!

The exterior of MoDA The exterior of MoDA
  

The Museum of Design Atlanta (MoDA) is rightfully revved up about its jewel box new space at 1315 Peachtree Street. Nationally renowned, Atlanta-based architectural firm Perkins + Will revamped the former Invesco quarters into a sleek, compact and modern space that is custom-built for exhibitions and display. Poured concrete floors; a dramatic picture window that can showcase current exhibits (recently, cherry-red Ducatis ) and lure sidewalk traffic; climate and lighting controls for sensitive materials such as works on paper or fabrics; state-of-the-art ceiling-mounted digital projectors for multi-media shows; and light-filled double height windows in the back gallery build-out maximize the opportunities for designer dazzle.

The sexy, streamlined white space epitomizes the type of modern design that the museum also touts in its exhibits. Previously it was a stunning collection of 11 rare and covetable Italian motorcycles by Ducati dating back to 1959, whose gleaming red bodies and sinuous curves  screamed  aerodynamic efficiency, speed and sensuous pleasure. Now, the space has transformed again into a dreamy, almost Zen-like temple for sybaritic bath toys by some of the world's top contemporary designers. The exhibit, sponsored by Hansgrohe and its designer line Axor, also proved the versatility of MoDA's new digs. WaterDream puts that last refuge of privacy and perhaps even hedonism, the bathroom, into fascinating focus.

The estimated $1.5 million revamp of the space, which is poised for LEED Platinum environmental status, places MoDA on a much higher profile, designer platform. And with neighbors Perkins + Will next door, the public library upstairs, and the High Museum across the street, the synergy between these cultural institutions is sure to be beneficial to all.

The poster from the recent exhibit The poster from the recent exhibit

MoDA Director Brenda Galina is ready to live up to the great expectations that the new building engenders with a slew of  upcoming shows like 25 years of graphic AIDS posters and "The Opulent Object in Wood, Metal and Fiber," featuring works by Atlanta artists Richard Mafong, Mike Harrison and Jon Riis (both exhibits open Oct. 2). Also in the works: a buzzy graphic arts show and an exhibit of works by Dutch artist Isabelle de Borchgave in February. (Her elaborate but fragile paper costumes inspired by the sartorial splendor of Marie Antoinette, The Ballet Russes and Fortuny, could not have been shown in the old space.] There are even talks of a future exhibit of undulating architectural models by Bilbao master Frank Gehry.  

WaterDream: The Art of Bathroom Design, through Sept. 24,, Tues.-Sun., Museums of Design Atlanta, 1315 Peachtree St., 404.979.6455 or www.museumofdesign.org.