San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design
As the design industry comes full circle to embrace low-fi craft and making, tributes to the artform are establishing themselves in cities worldwide. The latest is the Museum of Craft and Design, which opened its doors this weekend in the creative Dogpatch neighbourhood of San Francisco.
The museum has been a presence here - in one incarnation or another - for nearly a decade. Last year it announced its plans to move into the 1915 American Industrial Centre, a one-time tin-can manufacturing plant, which overlooks former docklands on Third Street. Organisers enlisted local commercial designers McCall and the glamorous West Coast interior and furniture designer Gary Hutton to collaborate on the interiors.
This new permanent home for the MCD spans nearly 800 sq m - half of which is devoted to exhibition space, twice as much as the museum has ever known. The 325sq m primary gallery, with finished-concrete floors unobstructed but for a series of 7.5m concrete columns, incorporates a massive wall-sized window facing the street entrance - an effort to engage with the public and draw interest.
An adjacent workshop space, the institution’s first, will host craft labs (the inaugural class is being produced by Etsy, the American online marketplace for handmade wares). And a street-level shop sells never-before-seen items like the custom-created museum soaps by Heliotrope San Francisco, limited-edition T-shirts by Sausalito-based Heather Wilcoxon and felt baskets by Megan Urback
The museum is non-collecting, so its programme consists of a series of curated exhibitions and pop-ups, the first of which focuses on veteran Bay Area sculptor Michael Cooper, a maker of steampunk-style motorised metalworks. He shares the main gallery with jellyfish jewellery by New York crafter Arline Fisch and Massachusetts-based ceramicist Rebecca Hutchinson.