studioMDA creates a new and unique auction house by designing the new Phillips headquarters inside the existing Park Avenue Cube and concourse below, to allow a direct visual connection from the street to the auction experience, promoting transparency and public engagement, thus shedding the classical typology of the “auction behind closed doors”. By replacing the ground floor of the transparent glass-walled Park Avenue Cube with a sunken mezzanine, studioMDA creates sightlines into the auction floor of the subterranean concourse level. Intimate, sound-proof private galleries allow potential buyers or sellers to preview and discuss selected works.
studioMDA also completed the new offices for Phillips on the 3rd floor of 432 Park Avenue in March of 2020, featuring light-filled open office areas, executive offices, large conference and meeting rooms, and a central library. The 15,000 square foot floor also gives Phillips a direct connection to the auction house galleries at the concourse level. The layout accommodates the many diverse teams within Phillips by focusing on adjacencies and interconnectedness.
As a progressive auction house, Phillips has implemented educational programs intended to invite and engage the public, an agenda pushed further by studioMDA’s design. By engaging the public through the Cube down to the auction space, the new space becomes a hybrid of an auction house, gallery, museum, lecture forum, and event space.
In response to Phillips’ expanding auction business, studioMDA designed a system of flexible “zones” within the existing concourse space, that can be divided into separate rooms or opened into vast, column-free spaces for auction and exhibition activities. Unlike a museum or a gallery, Phillips cycles through different programs daily. A kit of movable walls provides the ability to respond to how art is displayed and cater to the specificity of a variety of events and curatorial platforms. Each space within the newly developed concourse will be custom-tailored to the scale and nature of the collections on display, ranging from automobiles to paintings to watches. This flexibility celebrates the theatricality and ever-changing nature of the auction house experience.
The new Phillips headquarters engages users ranging from the public to high-profile clientele. With this unique, vibrant atmosphere, Phillips exists as an evolving institution—one that breaks the typical mold of an auction house. studioMDA inserts the new Phillips auction house into the urban environment, offering the fine qualities of a museum and the flexibility of an art fair.