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ShareWell Unveils Design for New Children's Museum in Santa Monica
By Jorge Casuso
May 23, 2018 -- Los Angeles-based non-profit ShareWell unveiled the design on Wednesday for its new state-of-the-art Cayton Children's Museum at Santa Monica Place.
Designed by R&A Architecture + Design and exhibition designer S2 Associates, the 21,000 square-foot facility blurs architecture and exhibition space to "create a collection of uniquely inspiring learning environments and experiences," ShareWell officials said.
"Each area of the museum provides diverse opportunities to take chances, work together and reflect," officials said.
"The design prioritizes small moments of wonder with interactive analog and digital installations sparking the imagination of all ages. Focusing on active participation and visual interest, the museum is designed from the experience out."
The new facility on the mall's third floor doubles the museum's current exhibition space in Los Angeles and will house an expansive exhibition space, support facilities, community/workshop rooms, an art studio, a gift shop and ShareWell's corporate and administrative offices.
"I think the environment in which our invaluable work takes place is extremely important and I am thrilled to see the impressive work of our design team," said Esther Netter, founder and CEO of ShareWell, which will oversee and operate the museum.
"Our mission is to create an experiential and fun environment where children will learn community values and social responsibility through play," she said.
Shawn Gehle, R&A's Design Principal leading the project, said the design "celebrates the virtues of play and honors the energy and spirit in every child.
"At every level -- the physical space, exhibits and environmental graphics are designed to awaken the visitor's innate curiosity and deliver awesomeness," Gehle said.
"The result is a 21st century children's museum for exploration and discovery."
The collaborative design creates uses a "free plan concept" to create a "network of free-form objects and truncated, round rooms to establish a wingless museum experience," Sharewell officials said.
"Together, the exhibits and architecture allow museum visitors to wander and discover the museum in their own unique way," officials said.
The children's museum, which was launched in 1991 in a 600 square foot space at the Westside Jewish Community Center, is expected to draw 300,000 annual visitors to its Santa Monica facility, ShareWell officials said.
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