David Kohn Architects
39–51 Highgate Road
London NW5 1RT
+44 (0)20 7424 8596 tel
David Kohn Architects has designed the exhibition at the Design Museum for this year’s Brit Insurance Designs of the Year Award, that opened on February 15th. With winners selected by a jury of design experts chaired by Stephen Bailey, the exhibition features the best designs from last year in the fields of architecture, fashion, transport, product, graphic, furniture and interactive design.
The concept for the exhibition design has been to display the exhibits in constellations that accentuate their cultural and physical relationships beyond their discipline. Responding to the direction of curator, Alex Newson, the images and objects have been arranged on large undulating plinths that navigate you around the gallery. Rather than pre-determining a visitor’s route and view, the exhibition design is an invitation to explore as though in a landscape, making individual connections between the objects on display.
The exhibition is housed in the second floor gallery, which has been transformed by removing partitions and introducing daylight through exposed glazing on the South East corner. The 37m x 18m x 5m gallery has regained its former proportions as a large public room or urban space allowing the constellations of exhibits to be shown to greater sculptural effect than previously possible.
The plinths are modular frames constructed of strong slender carbon fibre rods, brass connectors and fabric-wrapped aluminium tops. These elements can be reconfigured to make plinths of any size or height to suit a variety of exhibitions. Slotting together much like tent poles, the plinths are quick to erect and deconstruct whilst light and compact to transport.
Freed from the restraints of walls, the plinths allow the exhibits to be viewed as objects in the round, enabling a multitude of relationships with neighbouring exhibits to emerge. Photographic exhibits screenprinted onto the horizontal plane of the plinths continues this approach.
Colourful canvas banners and bunting created by Multistorey are draped over a horizon of cables spanning the ceiling, giving the space a street festival atmosphere appropriate to the celebratory nature of the exhibition. Exhibits are arranged thematically within the groupings of Home, City, Play, Share and Learn beneath their corresponding banner. A sixth area Stop denotes a place for visitors to pause and enjoy the newly revealed view from the rear corner of the gallery.
Watch the 'making of' film.
Client: Design Museum
Address: Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD
Completion date: February 2011
Brass connectors and aluminium plinth tops: ECH Solutions
Carbon fibre plinth frames: Carbon Fibre Tubes Ltd
Fabric wrapping to plinth: Shepherds Falkiner