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takeoff; exhibiton design,
2021

exhibition design for unsw galleries exploring the idea of flight

design brief

 

Design an exhibition around the concept of flight to be displayed in the UNSW galleries. Curate a list of artifacts to populate the exhibition considering form, materiality, sequencing and method of display. Referencing museological standards explore the physical and conceptual relationships between the exhibition subject matter and the site.

concept statement

 

With the advent of popularised air travel there has been an increase in the need for, but also interest by, designers to adapt their skills to explore the potential for products of this experience. Takeoff champions this by curating a selection of novel designed objects used in air travel. Whilst the exhibition is laid out in a prescriptive sequence, the space doesn’t necessarily have a predicted progression. The low stature of the plinths and their waving shape draw the viewers’ eyes around the exhibition before they have time to investigate each object, emulating that sense of anticipation and allure we have while in flight but for the objects in the exhibition. It is these designed methods and others in Takeoff that thematically yield a feeling of weightlessness, levity and expanse which is unique to being in flight. UNSW galleries provides an effective site for the interpretation of this fictive environment. Effectively designing for a physical setting that generates a narrative allows the viewer to attach personal significance to the environment, which, in this memory economy, can be a major determiner of the success of the exhibition. Takeoff simulates the feeling of limitlessness through its design devices. The large undulating plinths act as clouds with lighting embedded within them, their structure mimicking the archetypal shape of clouds. Their large size also provides a passive barrier between the viewer and the object to ensure each is kept at a safe distance. Additionally, the walls are filleted (rounded) where there is no clear end or beginning to the space, but rather a continuity, mirroring the same feeling you have when you look across a horizon while on a plane.

sketches

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ceiling with draped fabric

display device

interactive elements

plinth layout

object schedule

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exhibition perspective

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entrance

emergency exit

presentation plan

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documentation package

display devices

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Curved display plinth to show luggage on tiered levels

For this display device I have selected the first-class tableware design by Italian Company Alessi for Delta Airlines. 

I wanted to remove the objects from their normal conventions where they are used on horizontal surfaces, and instead suspend them, granting the opportunity for the audience to reexamine their purpose. Detaching the objects manifests the idea that they are in flight themselves. Aerated and suspended in a light filled space they rival the duty that standard service wear provides. The mounts are intended to visually disappear and just leave behind what appears to be a floating object. Strip lights embedded in a thin metal framework not only act as another proxy of illumination at the front of the objects but also as an indirect means of crowd control. They set a distance that the public cannot pass in a more passive way than a large sheet of acrylic would.

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