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California company chosen to design Everson Museum café

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

A rendering by Millions, a Los Angeles–based experimental architectural practice, of the new café at the Everson Museum of Art in downtown Syracuse. The Everson and the Syracuse University School of Architecture chose Millions as the winner of the Everson Museum café design competition. (RENDERING CREDIT: MILLIONS & EVERSON MUSEUM WEBSITE)

SYRACUSE — A California firm will handle the design work on the café at the Everson Museum of Art after winning a competition to secure the job.

The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse and Syracuse University School of Architecture chose a company called Millions.

Millions is a Los Angeles–based experimental architectural practice founded by John May and Zeina Koreitem. Millions says it “conceives of architecture as a speculative medium for exploring the central categories of contemporary life: technology, politics, energy, media, and information.”

The other finalists, selected back in May, included FreelandBuck, which has offices in Los Angeles and New York City; Naturalbuild of Shanghai, China; and Norman Kelley, which has offices in Chicago and New Orleans.

Millions brings a “striking individuality” to its work, Elizabeth Dunbar, director and CEO of the Everson Museum, said in a news release. 

“Their approach to the café design within I.M. Pei’s iconic Everson design brings to mind Pei’s own daring intervention into the Louvre. Millions included prismatic glass towers in their design, brilliantly combining function with architectural flair and conceptual rigor. They not only thoughtfully engage Pei’s style; they have highlighted its unique characteristics while simultaneously giving Louise’s collection the prominence and respect it deserves. We are all so very excited to work on this project with Millions. Together we are creating a café space and experience unlike any other in the world,” Dunbar says. 

I.M. Pei, the architect who designed the Everson, died in May. 

Construction of the new café will begin in 2020 with an expected opening toward the end of the summer of the same year.

Besides Dunbar, the jury that selected Millions as the designer included Garth Johnson, the Everson’s curator of ceramics. The group also included Sean Anderson, associate curator in the department of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; Aric Chen, curatorial director of Design Miami, an international design fair; Jing Liu, an architect with design firm SO—IL in New York City; Matt Shaw, executive editor of The Architect’s Newspaper; and Oana Stanescu, a faculty member at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

In addition to providing daily lunch service and hosting special events, the new museum café will also serve as a venue to showcase and put into use the Rosenfield collection, a more than 3,000-piece functional ceramic-art collection gifted to the Everson Museum of Art by Louise Rosenfield, a Dallas, Texas–based ceramic artist and collector. 

Rosenfield also served as an advisor to the jury, along with Kate Nutting, principal and managing member of VIP Architectural Associates of Syracuse; Fouad Dietz, Everson Museum chair of buildings and grounds committee; and Karyn Korteling, owner of Pastabilities restaurant in Syracuse.       

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