Level 2 

Atrium In Focus—The West Window

A corridor with a wooden floor and wooden walls. Glass lamps hang from the ceiling in a row. Benches line the wall next to a floor-to-ceiling window with four wooden grilles.

The window on the west side on Level 2 in the M+ building. Photo: Dan Leung. M+, Hong Kong


Tucked away just off this floor’s Atrium is the West Window: an outward looking space that’s very different to the other windows you’ll come across in the galleries. Facing the elevators, you can get to it down the bamboo-lined corridor to the left. Feel free to pause this track while you make your way there.

It’s hard not to be captivated by the bamboo cladding that totally encases the floor, walls, and ceiling in this space. It’s a bold design choice that pushes against the norm of the more traditional gallery spaces nearby, and one that subtly celebrates M+ as an Asian museum of visual culture. It’s a design style that is echoed in the nearby Courtyard Galleries, offering a direct contrast to the more conventional white cube gallery experience. This diversity of surroundings emphasises the differing experiences of viewing art across cultures: for instance, ink calligraphy and handscrolls are often stored in private collections, and only taken out to be viewed in small numbers, calling for more intimate viewing spaces.

Once you’re at the window at the end of this warm, bamboo corridor, you’ve reached what has quickly become one of the most popular—and photographed!—parts of M+. The window is broken up by vertical bamboo mullions, which align with the exterior terracotta tiles, and looks out to the west and the Art Park that stretches away from the museum building.

While the glass you’re looking through might seem unremarkable, it actually reflects yet another conscious, meaningful design decision. The windowpanes are super-transparent glass—the architects were keen not to have them tinted in any way, as this would've affected both the views out, and in. They didn’t want M+ to be a solid, view-blocking monolith on the harbourside; rather, they wanted it to be an open, transparent entity that better reflected the openness of the collections it contained.

Using un-tinted glass would usually leave a building open to the full power of the Hong Kong sun, allowing in all the UV light. However, if you look through the window, you’ll see more of those glazed terracotta panels that are used throughout the museum, which serve as shading, reducing the amount of UV light that enters the building. If you haven’t already, you can learn more about this glazed terracotta—unique to M+—by selecting the ‘In Focus’ track from your menu.