Armory Show’s New Floor Plan Offers More Light and River Views

The location on the water has long been under-utilized.

A rendering of the planned VIP Lounge at the 2017 Armory Show. Courtesy Bade Stageberg Cox.

A new floor plan and VIP lounge at the Armory Show, the annual New York fair that takes place in March on the Hudson River piers, aims to brighten the atmosphere in 2017. Views of the water are a long-underused feature of the fair’s location, which the organizers now aim to exploit.

In the VIP lounge, relocated from Pier 94 to Pier 92, a 20-foot-square, custom-designed window and a 30-foot-wide balcony will offer respite for fairgoers weary of wandering the aisles.

A rendering of the planned VIP entry at the 2017 Armory Show. Courtesy Bade Stageberg Cox.

A rendering of the planned VIP entry at the 2017 Armory Show. Courtesy Bade Stageberg Cox.

Brooklyn-based architecture office Bade Stageberg Cox has handled the fair design since 2012, and has signed on again this year. Among the firm’s other cultural commissions are New York’s Alexander & Bonin Gallery, the private museum called the Art Cave in California’s Napa Valley, and a recent redesign of New York’s National Academy of Design.

The VIP lounge will serve as serve as the stage set for a new commissioned artwork each year. The inaugural installation will be by Japanese artist Jun Kaneko, who has completed public art commissions in cities from Boston and Kansas City to Osaka and Shanghai.

Jun Kaneko, <i>Mirage</i> (2016). Photo Takashi Hatakayama.

Jun Kaneko, Mirage (2016). Photo Takashi Hatakayama.

Improving restaurant offerings is also on new director Ben Genocchio’s to-do list; highly rated New York eatery Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria is one of the new food providers.

“The relocation of the VIP Lounge to Pier 92 is part of a broader strategy to embrace the raw, industrial structure of the Piers and its unique location in midtown Manhattan at the edge of the Hudson River,” said Genocchio in an email. “We’ve opened up the space to the river and to the light, revealing extraordinary views of the Manhattan skyline and creating an opportunity for visitors to go outside on a 30-feet balcony in the middle of the Hudson River.”

Genocchio’s other initiatives include softening the traditional boundary between modern and contemporary art, previously segregated among the two piers, and the introduction of features like large-scale installations that take advantage of the spacious setting.

Genocchio’s strategy continues the work of his predecessor, Noah Horowitz, who decamped to Art Basel in 2016, and is credited with considerable upgrades to the fair, which, previous to his tenure, was being offered for sale by its owner, Merchandise Mart Properties.

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