Musashino University Art Museum & Library

The Project

An exquisite new landmark building in Japan required beautiful conservation-quality cabinets for public display of its prints collection.
The Challenge

Safe handling and conservation of an historic art prints collection in display cabinets, which were accessible in public areas and complemented a highly distinctive modern interior.
The Result

‘The Planorama cabinets satisfy both our storage and display needs: The cabinets are neat and clean and add a sophisticated look.’
All Conservation by Design’s (CXD) clients requires products that ensure their artefacts; artworks and documents remain in the best possible state of preservation. But some museums and libraries need products with the style to match their conservation performance.

The Musashino University Art Museum and Library was just such a case. When the museum came to CXD in 2011, it was looking for a cabinet system in which to store a fine collection of over 1000 prints, ranging from 18th century Japanese Copperplate engravings to 20th Century prints both by 20th century Japanese masters and overseas artists from Fernand Leger to Henry Moore.

As well as setting out rigorous storage guidelines to ensure the preservation and safe handling of the prints, the Museum’s brief required cabinets that would at times double as elegant display cases for the prints because, as the museum’s supervisor of artefacts says: ‘Accessibility was also important, so that students could study stored artworks during classes’.

It was clear which product fitted the Musashino bill. First introduced in 1970 and manufactured at CXD’s Bedford factory since 2000, Planorama is the company’s top of the range cabinet system and is both beautiful and functional.

The elegant design features a unique aluminium profile from which drawers can be custom made to display objects as thin as 10mm (for coins) or as large as 4 x 5 metres (for storing things like ship’s flags). Constructed using only inert conservation-grade materials, the drawers offer protection from light, pollutants and dust. As the runners are built without moving parts and need no lubrication, the drawer mechanism requires little maintenance.  The modular nature of the cabinet’s construction also means that further units can easily be added if more capacity is required.

As Emma Murphy, Business Development Manager at CXD recalls, a key requirement of this first ever Planorama installation in Japan was that each drawer should contain no more than three valuable objects so as to maintain its safe handling. ‘CXD manufactured and supplied over 230 20mm depth light-weight drawers with 36 micron polyester bases, anti-dust brushes, pull out locking and central locking,’ she explains. ‘The cabinets have laminated glass tops and UV filter so the contents of the top drawer can be displayed and, as the top drawer is interchangeable with all the others, it’s straightforward to change what is on show without touching the precious contents.’

A year after the installation, the Musashino University Art Museum and Library declare themselves very pleased with the results: ‘The Planorama cabinets satisfy both our storage and display needs’, says a spokesman. ‘The glazed top and polyester drawer bases enable us to see more than one layer of stored prints without even opening the drawers. The cabinets are neat and clean and add a sophisticated look to the entire storage room.’

Just as crucial, the architect of the building pronounces himself content with the way Planorama fits into his extraordinary building  “It looks nice,’ says architect Sou Fujimoto simply, ‘And it fits well into its surroundings.’

For more information and quotations please contact Robert Campbell on +44 (0) 1234 846352

Alternatively you can complete our online Planorama Questionnaire which will help frame your precise requirements. Once complete a member of our showcase team will be in touch.