I went to a conference and a few days later my friend Michelle came up with “Twitter compliant” as a way of rating presentations. Today I walked around the beautiful new Maxxi museum of Modern Art and Architecture in Rome (another Zaha Hadid project) and thought that some 21st century compliance would really help.
The fact is that whether they like it or not, these types of museums have to compete with the Moma, Palais de Tokyo and Tate Modern, or more locally Triennale. That this is the first radically modern building in a while in Rome almost takes a back seat for the average museum buff. Modern Art museums compete internationally in terms of architecture, curation and services and this one, while succeeding fantastically on the first fails at every other level.
Just to name a few challenges that can be easily fixed:
– Lack of toilet seats (!!!!) and for such a huge space, not enough facilities
– Terribly small caffe that will very quickly be over capacity.
– No space to sit down inside, no benches unless you’re supposed to look at a movie, nothing. Makes the whole experience really exhausting as there are many long corridors in true Hadid style. You need the benches to get people to go: “wow what a great space”.
– Really bad artists info signage with clearly no real guidelines about how far away the signage is from the piece, making people look around for it.
– No signs on whether photography is allowed or not, meaning someone has to speak into a microphone occasionally to say to people not to take pictures, transforming the space into a mall or supermarket, and not a museum.
– The entrance and ticket desk becomes a nightmare when there are more than 20 people queuing. Good luck this summer.
– The book store is super tiny and not interesting. If anything is to be learnt from 21st century museums, is that its all about the book stores.
– Running your stuff on Macs means you’ll get this problem quite often and look totally stupid.
So there. Such a contrast to super-well organised events happening in the same city but clearly in a different century.