ShareWell, the Los Angeles-based non-profit that oversees and operates the current Zimmer Children’s Museum and the new Cayton Children’s Museum, announced that it has named R&A Architecture + Design as the design architect and S2 Associates as the exhibition designer of the new museum opening at Santa Monica Place this fall. The project is being managed by Yuval Chiprut of Los Angeles-based Slated Projects, a real estate development and brokerage firm focusing on dynamic and creative consumer-oriented projects.

“We are truly ecstatic to announce our collaboration with this amazing team of creative professionals who will transform our new home at Santa Monica Place into the most progressive children’s museum in the city.  Our mission is to create an experiential and fun environment where children will learn community values and social responsibility through play, and we have engaged some of the most talented experts in the fields of architecture, interior design and exhibition design to help us realize this vision,” explains ShareWell founder and CEO Esther Netter.

The new museum will be located at 395 Santa Monica Place on the popular open-air shopping center’s third floor.  The 21,000 square-foot facility doubles the museum’s current exhibition space on Wilshire Boulevard in mid-City and will accommodate an expected 300,000 visitors each year.  The flagship location will house an expansive exhibition space, support facilities, community/workshop rooms, an art studio, a gift shop, and ShareWell’s corporate and administrative offices.

“Our new museum facility will allow us to continue to grow our organization and more importantly to broaden the reach of our mission, bringing the invaluable message of inclusiveness and civic responsibility to a larger and more diverse audience,” explains ShareWell Board Chair Andy Kaplan.  “I think the environment in which our invaluable work takes place is extremely important and I am thrilled to see the impressive work of our design team who has created a museum space that is beautiful, thoughtful and approachable, all at the same time.”

The Cayton Children’s Museum is designed as a series of unexpected experiences that empower visitors to author their own adventure and play their way to a better world.  The design, by Culver City-based R&A Architecture + Design, will bring discovery-based play indoors, blurring architecture and exhibition space to create a collection of uniquely inspiring learning environments and experiences. Each area of the museum provides diverse opportunities to take chances, work together and reflect.  The design prioritizes small moments of wonder with interactive analog and digital installations sparking the imagination of all ages. Focusing on active participation and visual interest, the museum is designed from the experience out.

“The Cayton Children’s Museum prioritizes the power of values-based play,” explains Shawn Gehle, R&A’s Design Principal leading the project.  “The design celebrates the virtues of play and honors the energy and spirit in every child. At every level – the physical space, exhibits and environmental graphics are designed to awaken the visitor’s innate curiosity and deliver awesomeness; the result is a 21st century children’s museum for exploration and discovery.”

The exhibits, designed in collaboration with Napa-based exhibition designer S2 Associates, will promote the Cayton Children’s Museum’s mission to encourage a hands-on and creative learning model that stimulates creativity, imagination and collaboration amongst children and their families.  The exhibition strategy utilizes R&A’s network of free-form objects and truncated, round rooms to establish a wingless museum experience based on a free plan concept. Together, the exhibits and architecture allow museum visitors to wander and discover the museum in their own unique way.

The new Cayton Children’s Museum by ShareWell is the culmination of over 25 years of youth outreach designed to inspire life-long creativity, promote civic engagement and to build strong communities. Beginning in 1991 in a 600 square foot space at the Westside Jewish Community Center, ShareWell’s initiatives have evolved into a vital creative force in the Los Angeles community.  The Cayton Children’s Museum will open to the public in November 2018.

Submitted by Matt Walker, Period Media