Design in 2021 – what will exhibition design look like?


What do you think 2021 will hold for exhibition design?

What a roller coaster year 2020 for exhibition design! With many museums closed for much of the year and needing to put staff on leave, many short and long term projects have postponed openings. As a result, many institutions and design agencies have taken the time to completely rethink the future – and on many levels. The pandemic has impacted in so many different ways, from budgets and deadlines to new sensitivities and perspectives and the more practical issues of visitor travel, including the implications of touch and the importance of travel lanes.

As we move forward now, I think the appetite for exhibitions will follow different paths. On the one hand, we’ll see some really exciting installations that come and go in a flash. Inexpensive exhibitions to set up and embodying creative and free-thinking solutions, making maximum use of light and the audiovisual sector.

On the other hand, we will see beautifully designed, clean, and material-rich displays that are highly regarded. I think the exhibits will become immensely popular as we come out of the pandemic. I predict an explosion of creativity too. People are so hungry for exciting ‘real’ things that embody value and craftsmanship, as well as new and empowering designs, especially after the lack of experiential 3D cultivation in our home-confined, life-based existence. the screen of recent times. I also believe that there will be a significantly increased engagement in exhibition design for sustainable materials and more flexible, modular and reusable designs.

I can’t wait to see what will happen in 2021.

What is your favorite example of exhibition design from 2020 and why?

The year was thus divided between the pre-containment exposures in January and February and what followed.

Earlier this year, I just managed to see a big exhibition called Sense Me at the Trapholt Museum of Modern Art in Kolding, Denmark. It was a wonderful sensory journey, with textured curtains in which you could walk around and experience effects; a responsive digital box that you can walk in and create moving images and a room full of curved wooden trees that emit sounds with a disorienting and distorting mirror, as well as a cloud that you can gaze into at the top of a ladder (photo above). It was a brilliant and immersive experience that seemed all the more impressive as nothing like it was possible for the rest of the year and beyond.

We are currently designing an exhibition on touch at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, which opens this month and whose subject matter will have an entirely different resonance after Covid, which was completely unforeseen during the conception of the exhibition.

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