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Not your Typical Desk/A Lever Long Enough

From our wonderful Box Office intern Rebecca Roy:

The history of North Adams oozes from the walls of mass moca; layers of paint reveal past lives; brick cornices remind us of another time.  In a fittingly contemporary appropriation of space, MASS MoCA has become the setting for a dialogue with history, industry, and architecture.  From mill to factory to museum, MASS MoCA’s varied histories are reflected in the building itself as well as in its architectural and interior design. To many visitors, the most obvious of these fixtures is the box office desk.

Suspended from the ceiling by a spring at one end and balancing on the floor on a fulcrum at its midpoint, the box office desk is a unique reminder of MASS MoCA’s transformation from an industrial manufacturing mill to an art museum.  Designed and constructed by Mike Green, the desk is composed of fabricated steel from I beams, wooden columns, and the spring from an elevator shaft. Not only is the desk a functional sculpture and a document of MASS MoCA’s past, but it is a living, bouncing testament to change and resiliency.

As a visitor leans on the desk to ask a question or sign a receipt, they usually realize that the box office desk is more than a decoration or a work of art.  The desk actually oscillates,  becoming a responsive and animated third party in the ticket selling process.  Temporary loss of balance or disorientation may occur. However,  upon discovering that our desk does indeed bounce, many visitors say that the desk reminds them of the Archimedes quote, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world.”  And even though our desk can’t literally move the world, maybe the art inside the galleries can.

Posted October 21, 2008 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Architecture, BLOG
3 Comments »

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3 Comments on “Not your Typical Desk/A Lever Long Enough”

  1. Lynn Ellison-Murphy Says:

    Hi Becca,
    What an awesome, well written,interesting blog! I loved it. It really gave me a feel for the desk you work at, and the amazing history of the museum. I now want to go there ASAP! Have never been there, that I can recall. I love it out there in the Berks, and so must you. Cameron is in Amherst at UMass, and he is very homesick. It saddens me. He is not the type to jump into all the wonderful cultural and artistic offerings, even events and activities. He just goes to Keene State to visit Becca (the OTHER becca!!) and they seem to just sit in her dorm a lot. I am more excited than he, as I would love to be a student again, only I would be doing it right this time: skipping the partying and seeking the arts, and drinking in all the knowledge I could get.

    Thanks again for your blog,keep up the great writing! Hope all is well with you!

    Love,
    Lynn

    P.S. Is that you in the picture?

  2. Kathy Roy Says:

    Hi!
    I just read your blog and was impressed. The desk sounds neat ~talk about recycling. The museum must be a cool place to work as well as visit. When you mentioned the archetecttual design I immediately thought of Salem and it’s rich history. Maybe someday I’ll be fortunate enough to visit MASSMOCA???
    Keep writing and enjoy your internship.
    Aunt Kathy

  3. spring loaded desk | c o l c h u Says:

    [...] Daily Dose of Architecture: Nice Desk at MASS MoCA This entry was posted in furniture and tagged architecture, desk, fulcrum, museum, spring, steel. [...]

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