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Mingei International Museum

The historical buildings housing Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park, San Diego, California, have undergone a transformation. In a major project undertaken by LUCE et studio, the museum was expanded by more than 900 square metres. The new space features exhibition halls, an auditorium, a training centre, a museum shop, a bistro and a café, among other facilities. Join us on a sensory journey through a world of art, where Dinesen HeartOak and Oak Classic are used to support the purpose of the museum.

Museum – San Diego, Californien, USA

Architect: LUCE et studio

Photographer: Ron Kerner


Layers HeartOak and Layers Oak Classic

Thickness: 22 mm. Width: 300 mm. Length: 3–5 m.

Finish: Bona NaturalSeal and Bona Natural water-based urethanes

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LUCE’s renovation of Mingei International Museum was guided by a specific mission to reflect the museum’s value base: ‘art of the world, art of the people’. Driven by a strong passion for quality craftsmanship and materials, LUCE created a renewed space for experiences that engage the senses. Based on this goal, Dinesen HeartOak and Oak Classic are actively incorporated into the architecture to help tell a story that matches the museum’s purpose. 

Mingei International Museum is about authenticity in material usage, and so are we. We sought materials that would be appropriate to “place” but also had their own intrinsic history embedded within them, whether through the legacy of craft or craftsmanship or five, six or seven generations of families that developed a technique or material sourcing. So there's a powerful story.’

– Jennifer Luce, founder and architect of LUCE et studio

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A key priority for LUCE was to bring materials into the project that not only tell a story but also offer the museum-goers a tactile experience. Beautiful materials that resonate with the art and which the guests can feel and touch. To achieve this, LUCE chose Dinesen HeartOak and Oak Classic to contribute to the museum’s overall narrative and add depth to the experience of the place. 

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‘The oak floor made by Dinesen was milled in Denmark, and they leave in the original flaws in the wood and fix them with butterfly joints. That will be used throughout the gallery flooring and the vertical wall surfaces.’

– Jennifer Luce

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Dinesen HeartOak and Oak Classic are widely used in the new museum architecture, including in exhibition halls, the library, the large, sunken theatre stage and walls in full-length planks as well as the central stair that is also used for seating during guided tours.

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