Exhibition Design in 2022 – Design Week

As part of our Design in 2022 series, Nissen Richards Director Pippa Nissen offers her perspective on what could happen in exhibit design over the next year.

What do you think 2022 holds for exhibition design?

Wonderful escape I suspect, as we find ways to celebrate what it means to be alive and human. However, the cultural landscape has changed. We need to be more aware of who is represented and how our work impacts the planet. We cannot be lazy or careless. Exhibits should be smart, witty and make a statement. They must be worth leaving the house to connect us to the world and the spirit of the times.

We welcome the move to recyclable plinths – like Assemble used for the Charlotte Perriand exhibition at the Design Museum – with stacked cinder blocks to create artwork bases. These can be taken apart and used for another installation or to build something else, like a reconfigurable parts kit. Anything less seems inappropriate now.

The power to improve and transform digital and lighting will also be essential. Exhibits may be slightly jumbled around the edges, held up by pegs, or surrounded by keyed fittings, bolts, or industrial items. If the gesture is correct, it’s fine – as long as it looks good in a photo.

I also predict a return to clean, good quality designs. Perhaps as exhibition designers we should strive to be invisible, only creating an atmosphere, where nothing interferes with the moment of truth between the visitor and the object, painting or idea on display. .

Culture House

What was your favorite exhibition design project in 2021?

In Moscow for work recently, I had the incredible good fortune to see the newly opened House of Culture, designed and detailed by Renzo Piano. I loved the ambition of this building – to rethink what a museum or gallery should be and how exhibits could be better integrated into a series of flexible spaces, encouraging debate and creativity.

The museum is large and includes artist galleries, auditoriums and gardens overlooking the city and the river. I was really impressed with the human voice that comes through in the artwork in this machine-like environment. In a way, the fragility of the works came through more with the coherence of the approach to color, tones and construction materials of the gallery and the building.

The works then on display – by Ragnar Kjartansson – seemed really appropriate. An Icelandic performance artist, whose pieces range from extensive collections of paintings to video installations – expand and contract, reflecting the experimentation of the building itself.

Other highlights include the recently opened Munch Museum in Oslo, an exhibition of the work of photographer Thomas Demand at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, the exhibition on The French Dispatch by Wes Anderson at 180 Studios, as well as Tate Play at Tate Modern.

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