The first thing I started to consider when thinking about ideas for the show was how the space looks. As we already know where the exhibition will take place and the conditions we will have to work with, honestly all I could see were problems. How are we going to cover up that door, how are people going to understand how to navigate in a place where I myself have lost my way several times, can we use the ugly lockers in the narrow corridor to our advantage somehow or will they just have to stay an ugly element in the show, how can we make the dark and stuffy 2nd floor feel lighter and bigger etc.. Our exhibition space kind of bummed me down a bit but realising that it is what it is and that there is one big advantage with it (no more carrying heavy furniture to another place) I began researching ways to make the space work.
What it needs is:
- bold designs
Because the exhibition space isn’t a big, airy, light, white gallery the minimal and sleek approach I don’t think would make sense here. Because the space is so “messy”, information and signage needs to be clearly visible and bold to contrast the tired walls and floors of the building. If a small space feels small I think it would be best to not try to make it look like a big cool gallery and forcing it to be something that it’s not, but rather to embrace the annoying shape and cover walls, floors and ceiling with graphics to make the space more dynamic and like it embraces you in a welcoming quirky way if that makes sense.
So as a way to organise my ideas and get inspired, I started out by creating a pinterest board containing exhibition display solutions, wayfinding and signage and through that, created a moodboard based on what I like. I found some really interesting designs and solutions and after narrowing that down further (taking into consideration what would be doable for our show with the budget we have, what the existing furniture looks like and how the overall language of how it has looked previous years) I ended up with two main ideas: carboard and neon gaffa tape. These are the two elements I would like to dominate the visual language and I think it is something that represents The Cass (calling to the raw and hand made with the naked brown cardboard, and contrasting that with the bold colour of neon that relates to youth, is loud and not something you would find anywhere).
Cardboard is a great material as well because it is cheap, easily manipulated, you can bend it, cut it, paint it, fold it however you want. You can build big structures with it and it can also function on a smaller scale as a stand for a piece of paper. Plus, it’s kind of beautiful. Gaffa tape is also great because you can use it on the walls, floor, on lockers.. create long lines, type, images etc. Like you’re drawing on the walls (illustration) and using it to create a wayfinding system (graphic design). I think a combination of these two would actually perfect. Below is my moodboard of exhibition design.