Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Los Angeles, USA

© Joshua White, JWPictures/© Academy Museum Foundation

The restoration project of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles was a significant architectural endeavor, led by the renowned architect Renzo Piano and carried out by his studio, Renzo Piano Building Workshop. The museum’s main building, known as the Saban Building, originally the May Company Building, underwent an extensive renovation that included the preservation and restoration of its historic façade. The façade is adorned with 24-carat gold leaf mosaics by Orsoni.

The gold leaf mosaics on the Saban Building date back to the 1930s and represent an invaluable artistic heritage. However, over the years, these mosaics were damaged and partially replaced in 1968 and 1991 with industrially produced tesserae that were not 24-carat gold. These replacements compromised the original appearance of the façade, losing the unique texture and craftsmanship of the original tiles.

To restore the Saban Building’s façade to its original splendor, the museum decided to collaborate with Orsoni Venezia 1888, the original supplier of the gold tiles. Orsoni produced new handmade gold tesserae, each unique in shape, size, color, and luster. This meticulous restoration work has recovered the beauty and integrity of the historic façade, contributing to making the Saban Building an architectural and cultural landmark in Los Angeles.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures includes two main buildings: the Saban Building and a glass sphere. The sphere houses a theater and a panoramic terrace with views of the Hollywood Hills, offering a unique combination of historical and modern architecture. The Saban Building, with its restored façade, retains the historical profile of the building, while inside it houses exhibition spaces, theaters, educational labs, and special event areas.

The museum, which is the largest institution in the world dedicated to cinema, offers visitors an immersive experience through permanent and temporary exhibitions, two state-of-the-art theaters, and spaces dedicated to education and special events. This ambitious project not only celebrates the history of cinema but also creates a meeting place for enthusiasts and scholars from all over the world.



Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Gensler (architect of record) and SPF:a


© Joshua White, JWPictures
© Academy Museum Foundation


Academy Museum Foundation

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