ArtScience Museum



The ArtScience Museum is a key permanent attraction of the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort located at Bayfront Avenue.1 The largest private museum in Singapore, it focuses on the connections between art and science through hi-tech exhibits that push disciplinary boundaries.2 Designed by world-renown architect Moshe Safdie, the museum is in the shape of a lotus with 10 irregular petals. It opened its doors to the public on 19 February 2011,3 and can accommodate about 3,500 visitors at any one time.4

Construction and opening
Plans to build the ArtScience Museum emerged when Las Vegas Sands Corporation won the bid to develop an integrated resort fronting Marina Bay.5 It was one of the key elements in a development comprising three 55-storey towers that included a hotel, exhibition spaces, two large theatres, a casino and a rooftop garden or Sky Park.6 Costing about S$8 billion in total, the resort was one of the most expensive developments in the world.7


After some delays in construction, the museum opened in February 2011, which was followed by the resort as a whole in June. The museum’s opening exhibitions included many interactive elements that were family-friendly.8

Architecture
The lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum was designed by Moshe Safdie, an Israeli-born Canadian architect.9 Safdie also designed The Ardmore Habitat Condominium (1981) and The Edge on Cairnhill (1997–2003) in Singapore, as well as devised an urban planning scheme for Singapore New Town (1994).10 Some of his better known projects include the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, and the Yad Vashem Children’s Holocaust Memorial.11 Safdie strongly believes in embodying the country’s character and culture in the buildings he designs.12


The ArtScience Museum’s flower-like geometry was accomplished with complex mathematical geometry. This demonstrates how the union of art and science can lead to the creation of something beautiful.13 The museum has a distinctive lotus shape with 10 irregularly shaped petals.14 Viewed from above, the building looks like a giant outstretched hand and has been dubbed “the welcoming hand of Singapore”.15 The tip of each petal lets in natural light to showcase each exhibit.16 There are 21 galleries spread over three storeys with a total floor space of about 6,000 sq m.17

Another outstanding feature of the museum is its rooftop, which allows rainwater to flow in a continuous cylindrical waterfall into a reflecting pond at the building’s lowest level. Some of the water is redirected for use in the museum’s washrooms.18 The museum was awarded Singapore’s Green Mark for its environmentally friendly design.19 It also won the Building and Construction Authority’s Design and Engineering Safety Excellence Award in 2013.20

Exhibits
The museum’s inaugural permanent showcase was an interactive exhibition entitled ArtScience: A Journey Through Creativity. The exhibition comprised three galleries called Curiosity, Inspiration and Expression.21 Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine and a Kongming lantern were some of the objects on display. The galleries were accessible through a set of “Floating Stairs”, 22 and visitors could use interactive touch screens and computerised role-playing to create designs and upload them to an online collage.23 


Travelling exhibitions are also an important part of the museum. These displays are brought in through collaborations with other organisations such as the American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute, Singapore Tourism Board and National Heritage Board. The museum opened with three such exhibitions: Genghis Khan: The Exhibition, Travelling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World and Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds.24

The three inaugural travelling exhibitions were followed by exhibitions on Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh,25 and surrealist artist Salvador Dali.26 While the exhibits were based on visual art, the museum incorporated technology to enhance visitors’ appreciation of the art. For example, the Van Gogh exhibition did not display his actual paintings. Instead, projectors beamed images of Van Gogh’s works onto gallery walls and ceilings to make visitors feel that they were part of an Impressionist canvas.27 The Dali exhibition featured over 250 works by the Spanish artist, including his famous melted clocks.28 Three bronze sculptures by Dali were sold at a show held in the museum.29



Author
Faizah bte Zakaria



References
1. Marina Bay Sands. (2017). Contact us. Retrieved 2017, June 29 from Marina Bay Sands website: http://www.marinabaysands.com/contact.html
2. Woon, T. H., & Ee, J. (2010, December 24). ArtScience lotus unfolds. The Business Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. ArtScience Museum now open. (2011, February 20). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Inside the museum. (2011, February 19). The Straits Times, p. 23. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Arnold, W. (2006, May 27). Las Vegas Sands is chosen to build Singapore casino. The New York Times. Retrieved 2017, June 29 from The New York Times website: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/27/business/worldbusiness/27casino.html
6. Shankari, U., & Sreenivasan, V. (2006, May 30). Race for Sentosa IR seen to be wide open. The Business Times, p. 1; Koh, M. F. (2009, December 30). Sands Skypark final piece in place. Today, p. 8; Marina Bay Sands on target. (2009, June 10). Today, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Marina Bay Sands on target. (2009, June 10). Today, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Sim, A. (2009, December 23). Marina Bay Sands’ loss is Genting’s gain: DBS Vickers. The Business Times, p. 5; Ong, S. C. (2011, January 6). Betting on better entertainment options. The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Ong, J. P. (2011, June 20). Singapore’s ArtScience Museum confounds and engages. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2017, June 29 from Inquirer.net website: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/3930/singapore’s-artscience-museum-confounds-and-engages; MBS’ ‘lotus’ blossoms. (2011, February 19). The Straits Times, pp. 2–3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Sim, A. (2006, March 25). Sands plays Moshe Safdie card in IR bid. The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Projects. (n.d.). Retrieved 2017, June 29 from SafdieArchitects website: http://www.msafdie.com/#/projects
12. Chen, C. (2011, February 4). Arty and LUCKY? The New Paper, pp. 14–15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Lim, L. (2011, February 18). ArtScience Museum makes its debut. The Business Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Tan, S. C. (2011, February 19). On top of the curve. The Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Lim, L. (2011, February 18). ArtScience Museum makes its debut. The Business Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Open up new realms of creativity. (2011, May 13). Today, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Inside the museum. (2011, February 19). The Straits Times, p. 23. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Marina Bay Sands. (2017). About ArtScience Museum. Retrieved 2017, September 5 from Marina Bay Sands website: http://www.marinabaysands.com/museum/about.html
18. Inside the museum. (2011, February 19). The Straits Times, p. 23. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Lee, M. (2012, May 25). Looking forward to the future. The Straits Times, p. 51. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Tan, M. (2013, May 1). ArtScience Museum among seven winners of BCA award; Engineers honoured for exemplary designs, high safety standards. The Business Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
21. Ong, J. P. (2011, June 20). Singapore’s ArtScience Museum confounds and engages. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2017, June 29 from Inquirer.net website: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/3930/singapore’s-artscience-museum-confounds-and-engages; artinasia.com. ArtScience Museum Marina Bay Sands. Artinasia.com. Retrieved 2017, September 29 from artinasia.com website: http://www.artinasia.com/institutionsDetail.php?catID=7&galleryID=2703
22. Woon, T. H., & Ee, J. (2010, December 24). ArtScience lotus unfolds. The Business Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Chen, C. (2011, February 4). Arty and LUCKY? The New Paper, pp. 14–15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Lim, L. (2011, February 18). ArtScience Museum makes its debut. The Business Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Venture into Van Gogh’s world. (2011, May 13). Today, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. Borissova, E. (2011, June 3). G2: The Almost-Dali trade. The Guardian. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Ong, J. P. (2011, June 20). Singapore’s ArtScience Museum confounds and engages. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2017, June 29 from Inquirer.net website: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/3930/singapore’s-artscience-museum-confounds-and-engages
27. Ong, J. P. (2011, June 20). Singapore’s ArtScience Museum confounds and engages. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2017, June 29 from Inquirer.net website: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/3930/singapore’s-artscience-museum-confounds-and-engages
28. Tan, C. (2011, May 20). Warped wonders. The Business Times, p. 34; Delve into the distorted reality of Dali. (2011, May 13). Today, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
29. Borissova, E. (2011, June 3). G2: The Almost-Dali trade. The Guardian. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/



The information in this article is valid as at 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


 

Subject
Recreation>>Places of Interest
Architecture
Museums--Singapore
Arts>>Art museums, collections and exhibitions
Architecture and Landscape>>Architectural Styles
Architecture and recreation--Singapore
Arts>>Architecture>>Architectural structure
Places of interest