The neon sign for Songbirds glows over Station Street in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. American music’s newest cultural landmark, the museum houses 1,700 of the world’s most beautiful acoustic, electric, jazz and bass guitars, along with mandolins, banjos, and mandocellos.
Songbirds enlisted award-winning architect Thomas Palmer of Cogent Studio to design the space. Palmer recruited Range to lead custom fabrication. Together, we collaborated to create a unique and bold museum aesthetic.
Tailored features grace every area of the 7500 square foot space including a CNC carved logo in the lobby to welcome visitors, a copper clad bar top and leather wrapped rail at the reception desk, reclaimed oak and steel merchandise shelving in the gift shop, speaker cloth wrapped acoustical panels to preserve sound quality and enormous steel pivot doors inset with ballistic glass to securely separate spaces. Largely working with dimensional steel and oxidized white oak, we created an industrial but refined look.
The custom displays cases we built contain more than 500 instruments at any given time. They were developed to provide a high level of functionality and also have a strong visual presence. Steel is the dominant material in the main gallery, while wooden casework is prominently featured in the spaces further back. In the high-security room, fondly nicknamed the Vault, we installed floor-to-ceiling steel accented wooden casework and velvet-lined drawer units to showcase the collection’s most prized guitars.
The result is a living, breathing space that captures the spirit of the history it showcases. Songbirds isn’t just another museum: it’s an immersive rock and roll experience. It serves to inspire all ages from young kids to old rockers as it presents the guitar's special place in American music.