Squares Upon Squares

Building Design

Armand Mevis and Linda van Deursen decide to use the square as the basis for the MCA’s visual identity.

Armand Mevis: The reason for the square was actually that we understood and discovered that this building is completely, let's say, made out of squares. The floor plan. The facades. Even if you look into details in the building you see that everything comes from squares. And since we first thought about what is the connection between the building and the MCA, maybe we wanted to walk away from that in the early on, but let's say at a certain point we started to understand that the identity of this museum is very much defined by architecture. And that's why we try to find also a kind of connection, and the connection is, in this case, the square as a starting point.

Linda van Deursen: In order to sort of fully embrace the square, we were interested also in looking at its different possibilities. And we went back to sort of study why the square actually was an interesting symbol. So it was both something that came from, let's say early modernism. And you can say in that sense it's very related to the architecture and also the architects that specifically developed this building, the museum, as it is now. And at the same time, there was an interesting revival of the square, let's say in the sixties, where modern let's say music, LPs, and things like that, advertising, pop art—the sort of very straightforward simple forms were very much used at that time.

And it also happened to be the time when the museum was founded. So we thought there were actually quite a good set of things that seem to be referring to the museum's history, and also the things we're interested in, so we kind of thought the square—we might be able to work with it. Although in a certain way we were also a little scared of the square, because it's also very rigid and very dull in shape. And we thought that maybe we have to do something to make it work. That was also an interesting question to ask.

Armand Mevis: Yeah. I think that, let's say we were aware that—let's say if you think of a square first, that it sounds very rigid, very dogmatic. But we tried to also by the examples Linda gave, we also tried to see if it actually could also be liberating, and if there is—if there are enough possibilities for let's say for new things, for to actually, in a way, to liberate it. So those were—we tried to demonstrate it, too, by giving examples. Because we could understand this could be a concern of the museum, when the museum itself is quite dogmatic, using a principle, in connection to the museum, may be not desired.

© MCA Chicago

© MCA Chicago

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