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The Rubin Museum of Art’s Mandala Lab set to open

Museums

The Rubin Museum of Art’s Mandala Lab set to open

The new space occupies the museum’s third floor.


By David Malone, Managing Editor | August 17, 2021
Mandala Lab breathing sculpture

Renderings courtesy PRO

The Mandala Lab, the Rubin Museum of Art’s new interactive space for social, emotional, and ethical learning, is set to open to the public on Sept. 24.

The lab is located on the remodeled third floor and was designed by Peterson Rich Office (PRO). The Mandala Lab invites visitors to participate in five experiences. These experiences feature videos accompanied by scents, a site-specific commissioned sculpture that invites collective breathing, and curated percussion instruments dipped in water. Each activity looks to harness the power of difficult emotions and offer pathways to develop resilience, calmness, and connection. The new space also functions as the home for School and Family Programs, which connect younger generations to the teaching expressed in Himalayan art through social, emotional, and ethical learning.

 

Mandala Lab gong orchestra

 

Each activity on the floor is envisioned as a sensorial experience and takes inspiration from Buddhist principles that focus on self-awareness and the awareness of others. Visitors can engage with a scent and memory library, participate in a synchronized breathing activity, and take part in a gong orchestra with eight gongs suspended over water.

As visitors move through the lab they will examine the feelings of pride, attachment, envy, anger, and ignorance. Visitors will then be invited to experiment and attempt to transform these emotional states into a complementary wisdom. It is in this way that the Mandala Lab aims to offer tools and new perspectives for coping with the day-to-day challenges and emotional burdens brought about by personal and societal complexities.

 

Mandala Lab lab space

 

Highlights of the design include:

- a 2,700-sf multipurpose open floor plan bounded by light that converts for education, exhibition, and event needs

- fine metal mesh partitions that surround the spiral staircase and divide the space into four quadrants

- an alcove with rounded walls and acoustic panels where content can be deployed with a wide, drop-down projection screen

- flexible space for lights-on learning with tables and chairs.

The new Mandala Lab is set to open with a free admission weekend spanning Sept. 24-26.

 

Mandala Lab interactive display

 

Mandala Lab library view

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