Last month’s entry quoted Frank Gehry talking about accommodating musicians in his design for Walt Disney Concert Hall. Indeed, Walt Disney Concert Hall is probably the most musician-friendly venue I’ve ever encountered. Musicians have a special place to park in the underground garage below the hall, an almost-private elevator to whisk them backstage, a nice and roomy orchestra lounge with wi-fi, dressing areas, practice rooms, special instrument rooms for percussion and other large instruments, a quiet room for reading or studying music, a lounge where the orchestra can meet with visitors, and more.
One of my favorite Gehry design touches that appears in several different guises throughout the backstage area is the use of raw Douglas fir plywood (a favorite material of the architect’s since his early days) in the bookcases in the lounge, lining the angled backstage walls and serving as suspended shelves on which the musicians can park their cases during rehearsals and concerts. Even the hall’s signage sports a special typeface by Bruce Mau named, “A font called Frank”.
Those who have known Frank Gehry’s work for years can’t help but smile when they walk in and see all the small details that are probably overlooked and taken for granted, but spell out Frank Gehry louder than the curved stainless steel forms he’s become known for.