Akin Atelier transforms Sydney Modern gallery shop into a translucent bubble

In a groundbreaking fusion of art, design, and architecture, Akin Atelier has unveiled the mesmerizing Gallery Shop at Sydney Modern, an extension of the esteemed Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Nestled within the recently completed entrance pavilion by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning studio SANAA, the Gallery Shop emerges as a captivating “translucent bubble” that challenges conventional museum retail spaces.


The heart of this innovative design lies in the two curved resin walls that define the retail space, creating a distinctive ambiance for visitors. These walls, comprised of 29 modules and constructed from a remarkable 12 tonnes of bio-resin, wrap around the displays, with a deliberate gap between them serving as the entrance point. This thoughtful arrangement beckons patrons into a realm where art and commerce seamlessly coalesce.

Positioned strategically in the northwest corner of the entrance pavilion, the Gallery Shop’s unique resin walls are a visual spectacle from the street, inviting intrigue and curiosity from passersby. The transparent nature of the walls, coupled with the bio-resin material, contributes to the ethereal quality of the space, establishing a delicate balance between the external environment and the curated offerings within.

Akin Atelier, in collaboration with renowned surfboard designer Hayden Cox, has envisioned the Gallery Shop as more than just a retail space; it is a curated experience designed to transcend the traditional commercial aspects of museum shops. The emphasis on the term “translucent bubble” underscores the studio’s intent to create an immersive and dynamic environment that challenges the norms of conventional museum retail, offering visitors a unique and thought-provoking encounter.

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the materiality of the resin walls is particularly noteworthy. Akin Atelier’s use of bio-resin, manufactured to incorporate biological matter, adds an eco-conscious layer to the design. This conscientious choice aligns with contemporary sensibilities, underlining the Studio’s commitment to sustainability and responsible architecture.

“The handmade nature of resin casting and finishing allowed for experimentation across colour and form while addressing the patinated qualities of the outside environment,” explained Akin Atelier.

Akin Atelier has redefined the museum retail experience with the Gallery Shop at Sydney Modern. By ingeniously employing bio-resin in a translucent bubble concept, the studio has not only crafted a visually stunning space but also challenged preconceived notions about the intersection of art, design, and commerce in the museum setting. The Gallery Shop stands as a testament to the power of innovative thinking in shaping the future of architectural and retail spaces within cultural institutions.

Images by Rory Gardiner via Dezeen

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