Optimizing Your Storage Space

April 14, 2017

We’ve explained how to find the best storage solution for your collection as well as the benefits of Concierge Storage at UOVO. But how do you know you’re really getting the most out of your storage space? We recently had the opportunity to re-rack portions of our Concierge Storage area, and chatted with the team involved to discuss how we approach optimizing art storage when each collection is so different.

It’s a point of pride at UOVO that our team has diverse, rich backgrounds in the arts or logistics (and often both). This is certainly true for Project Manager Michelle Brick and UOVO: LIC Warehouse Manager Jack Alexander, who both bring a wealth of knowledge to the task of designing private rooms and Concierge Storage at UOVO.

Building Your Dream Storage Unit

Michelle’s background is in interior design and she has worked on a number of public art projects and initiatives, such as Silent Lights and Wise Words by the Artist Build Collaborative. At UOVO, she works as a dedicated Project Manager assigned to clients who need assistance planning their new storage units. Over a hundred private rooms later, she has invaluable experience with helping clients find a usable and efficient layout for their private rooms.

The specifications for a private room build-out can run the gamut, depending on the collection and the client’s working preferences. Michelle has created floor plans that include segregated areas by medium or artist, incorporate photography walls, or create private viewing rooms out of their space. Many client rooms also incorporate a functional work area for archivists, registrars or gallery staff. The high ceilings in our facilities, ranging up to 25 feet, allow for a wide variety of permutations with customized racking to allow for high efficiency storage within a smaller footprint. 

In order to design the ideal storage unit, Michelle meets with the client to discuss their collections and working needs, taking into account each object’s dimensions, weight, and medium, and how accessible it needs to be. If the client intends to work on-site, the nature of that work, as well as how often they anticipate the property having to move in and out of the unit, are all points to consider when designing out the space. As the collection changes over time, the fit-out of the room may also change in order to best accommodate its evolution.

Re-thinking Concierge Storage

One of Michelle’s most recent and largest projects has been assisting with the redesign of sections of UOVO: LIC’s Concierge Storage with Jack and directing the installation of the redesigned custom racking. Jack’s experience in auction houses meant he was extremely comfortable with the tricky balance between efficiency and accessibility, which are keys to designing a storage space. As he explained, the dramatic difference in property for each sale required adapting storage and handling techniques to suit the needs of a wide variety of objects. This knowledge was easily transferable for UOVO’s own re-rack project.

Concierge storage prioritizes the balance of safety, efficiency, and accessibility. The artwork’s safety is imperative, as is the ability to pull it on short notice. Wayfinding within the storage space is critical: when designing the concierge storage taxonomy (i.e. the grid for locations and barcodes), Jack focused on avoiding excessive complexity and grouping “like with like. “ We store objects of similar dimensions and media together, with the heaviest works on the bottom shelves, ensuring all objects have proper elevation off the floor. This approach makes maximally efficient use of the racking, and also simplifies the task of our warehouse staff to locate objects or store them again safely upon return.  

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