WHAT IS EXHIBITION DESIGN?

To this question, the SEGD, the Society for Environment Graphic Design, is answering that is a “merger of communication and environments”. To lead the debates a little further, the Rotovision agency wrote this book ” What is exhibition design?”, that I am reading in order to improve my knowledge in this field.

So to their title question, they are answering ” From museum exhibitions, retail spaces, and trade shows to themed entertainments, information kiosks, visitor centers, World’s Fair, and exhibitions, exhibition design involves itself in creating experiences in real-time, utilising space, movement, and memory, to facilitate multilayered communication“. So mainly, the main goal is to shape the experience. To get it, the exhibition designer often has to work in team, or has to dive him self in this particular ambient to shape it the best he can. But to conclude ” Melding communication design and the built environment, exhibition design creates environments that communicate“.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF EXHIBITION DESIGN

Even if it depends on the culture and the interpretation of the meaning of “exhibition design”, it is possible to notice that it has moved towards increased democratization.

#Cabinets of curiosities#

XVIIth century: as people began to privately display and classify objects from all areas of the world that were considered to be exotic, frequently composed as immersive environments.

#Palaces#

Lots of  our  actual museums are tacking place in royal palaces and historical houses, because of their strong meaning in history, the architecture is one thing to discover firstly, and based on that you feel in a specific ambient to discover pieces of art.

#Church museums#

Lots of paintings, artifacts, mosaics, religious icons have been bringing back to Rome for centuries ago, and then disposed into several churches. As this stage, in the late XVIIIth century, the Church campaign was involved to creat th Vatican Museum, in order to display all the wealth collected.” It was an early example of design as interpretation”, being hardness to contextualize and enhance the display of objects.”

#The Capitol Museum#

In organising this Museum, ( built around 1734), a new kind of exhibition has been created, in displaying the pieces of art onpiedestal and in laying them out in the center, letting a pleasant perimeter around to walk around.

#Charles Wilson Peale#

This museum is considered as one of the first public one in America, opening in 1786. “Peale was among the first to take the collection out of the governmental, church, or royal gallery and present the museum as a place for collecting, preserving, and displaying culture” (p16), whereas lots of museums has began to birth in a private audience, this one was the first toinvite people to discover the inside.

#Expositions#

Based on the inheritance of the cabinets of curiosities, it was the step further to display everything which can be exotic. “They differ though in how they also explicitly celebrated broader themes like faith, technology, and above all the driving force, spellbinding variety, and jaw dropping spectacle of human progress”. (p16)

Later on, some Pavillion have beginning to be sponsored by the governments, to “deliver stories and iconography, not just for the display of precious objects. In this way, World’s Fairs were precursors to themed entertainment parks and museumsof science and industry.”

#Retail department stores#

This is a kind of transgression from the site of culture to the public and common spaces. Some big brands began to display their main objects in a specific way, not in the goal to sell them, but more in order to show the strength of their brand, and their longevity in the time. The past of the Flagship store actually…

In the actual trend, even if there are still Attractive museums, most of people are focused on traveling shows and exhibition. So that means that they are “jugded by the quality of their story and presentation” ( p22).

So on a marketing point of view, lots of institutions are looking for a good design to promote themselves: “the star appeal that has jumped from clothes to product to architecture, is now shaping exhibition design.”

 

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