Posts Tagged ‘museum cafes’

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – new cafe & (good) old seating

March 2, 2010

The recently opened top-floor cafe at SFMOMA is pretty successful as a place to rest and refresh, if somewhat pricey in the coffee and snacks department.

There aren’t really enough tables to accommodate everyone during periods of heavy use, but there’s an advantage to that. On two occasions, we’ve shared tables with strangers and gotten into interesting conversations as a result. So in a way the dearth of tables encourages social interaction.

The adjacent sculpture garden (to the south or right in the above photo) is a pleasant enough space. To the north (or left) is another outside area that, while it features sculpture, is often too sunless, windy, and chilly to be enjoyed sitting down.

To get to and from the cafe, you pass through a corridor with a long glass wall that looks out over the urban jumble north of the museum toward Mission Street.

This is another space that works well in terms of eye and spirit relief. The full length windows bring the outside right into the museum, and the flood of natural light is a relief after the white-cube windowless top floor galleries.

Speaking of galleries, there is ample (if backless and armless) seating throughout the museum, placed to encourage contemplation of the art.

Labels are decently readable, for the most part. I didn’t notice this one (toward the right in the photo below) until I went through my images from the visit – it’s a lot of text, but it’s in big, legible type.

I was also pleased to note that SFMOMA’s Koret Education Center still is one of the best, most comfortable places to sit, space out, read, or watch a video that I’ve encountered in any museum. Quite a variety of chairs, couches, and stools. You can watch whatever video is currently playing, if you choose, or sit well out of the line of sight and sound if that’s your preference.