Daniel Libeskind’s MO Museum opens in Vilnius, Lithuania

Daniel Libeskind’s MO Museum opens in Vilnius, Lithuania

This weekend saw the four-day celebration of the opening of the brand new Modern Art Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania. The striking new structure, designed by New York-based Daniel Libeskind, ‘is conceived as a cultural “gateway” connecting the 18th century grid to the medieval walled city’, explains the architect; it also proudly features its creator’s signature sculptural style.

The museum – called MO – and its public plaza is steps away from Vilnius’ historic medieval city, and the whole complex spans some 3,100 sq m. It was an essential piece of work to connect the country’s present, future and past, says the museum’s director, Milda Ivanauskiene.

‘The MO Modern Art Museum is a cultural milestone for the city of Vilnius and Lithuania as a whole. This new world-class institution will showcase local art and will explore its links with the global art scene,’ says Ivanauskiene. ‘These never before seen works of art created behind the Iron Curtain will finally have a venue and international audience’.

The MO museum complex includes a new public plaza for Vilnius. Photography: Hufton + Crow

The structure features a relatively simple, rectalinear facade, clad in white plaster, referencing the city’s existing architecture. A centrally placed, open staircase at the building’s heart guides the visitor through the museum and also appears on its facade, cutting through and connecting the street with the upper floors.

Inside, a variety of galleries allow for the admiration of local art, bathed in light through glazed facades and open planning, and lead to outdoor areas such as a terrace and a sculpture garden at the rear. The halls will host both permanent and temporary shows. The museum also includes a café, bookstore, educational areas, auditorium, storage and administrative spaces; so there really is something for everybody there. 

‘As someone who has a true appreciation for the history and beauty of Vilnius, I believe the building and its architecture will become a wonderful place to enjoy art and the spirit of the city’, says Libeskind. §

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