Every day, every minute, thousands
of temporary exhibitions are catering to millions of visitors around the world.
Architects participate in this exuberance with plenty of talent. For them, designing
a temporary exhibition is equivalent to modifying the space and the material of
the place in order to change our view of things and pass on a message.
Inflatable showcases, flying
carpets, digital display walls, interactive tables, robot circuits,
misappropriation of billboards, videos, projections, levitated structures,
organic structures, acoustic paths, suspended membranes... “Architects’
Exhibition Designs” reviews sixty-five designs of temporary exhibitions
produced in Europe in the past ten years by architects from all over the world.
The diversity of their work is displayed here.
Whether it is discrete or
spectacular, educational, experimental or manifest, emotional or playful – each
design reflects the diversity of styles, trends and evolutionary concepts of an
era. If displaying the work of art remains the foundation of designs for museum-like
exhibitions, in contemporary art and installations, the architect and the
artist work together.
For exhibitions on historic,
technical or scientific themes, notions of intimacy with the object and of
contemplation are replaced with spectacular presentations, which integrate
reconstructions and experiments. Vehicles of new methods of communication,
projections and digital images are equally important in developing the
aesthetics of exhibitions. Apart from situating objects, moods are created and
warehouse walls suddenly become projection surfaces.
Each exhibition design is intimately
linked with the architectural signature of its author and all of them respond to
the curators’ demands and to various constraints.
For over 15 years, the Pavillon de l’Arsenal
has committed the design of its exhibitions to French and international architects.
More than fifty exhibition designs that have been created since 1989 are
Using architects to design
exhibitions means accepting that an architectural character will involve itself
with the building, establish and redesign space in order to serve a purpose and
to invoke emotions.
Parking lots, warehouses, factories,
chapels, museums or art places – the variety of spaces that are invested means that
each time the amount and specificity of volume available dictate the boundaries
within which the architect has to work.
These architectures, very much like hermit
crabs, meddle in the most improbable spaces to create paths and moods to provide
their visitors with a unique experience.
65 Architects’ Exhibition Designs and more…
The architect-exhibition designer is
all-pervasive; he takes over the place and claims the territory as his own.
This presence is often exultant as it often expresses itself liberally. The
staging of a transient and traveling exhibition is a stark contrast to the slow
and weighty nature of architectural construction. The subject has to become
legible, the place has to come alive and be dynamic. So many stimulating
conditions for spirit and form. So many contexts in which create new spatial
experiences or plastic research as ever. The architect finds himself in unknown
territory to work on subjects to which he has a close yet unfamiliar
relationship. He introduces himself to established spaces which have been used
many times in the past by others.
So what can be said about the
exhibition design of an exhibition which examines exhibition design? There is
an impression that everything has already been done, that we are most
innovative ; volatile without shame.
As our task is to pervade, let’s do
it without hesitation. First, let’s empty the space of all memory : no traces left,
a floor, a roof, unfettered views of the city. Nothing; nothing but skin on
bones. And then let’s illuminate to pay tribute to all this creativity, albeit taking
the liberties of weightiness, floating in this space flooded with light,
shining both literally and figuratively.Let these floating showcases appear
like so many messages coming from elsewhere which invade and enchant us, revealing
any remaining doubt as to the real pleasures of creating spaces and of discovering
works and viewing them ; in Paris or anywhere else.
“Architects’ Exhibition Designs, 115 European Exhibitions Designed by