IN:STALL – Exhibition Display Design

Our first project in 4th year was a group one, we were put into teams where we had to design an exhibition display. In our teams we had to come up with a design proposal that was adaptable, easily transportable and would effectively exhibit the design work of two people. It is hoped that between all of our teams we will come up with some good ideas for designing our exhibition space for our upcoming degree show in May 2020.


We took inspiration from many of the shapes and lines that we photographed around the art college. We researched a lot of exhibition spaces online and in books. After reading David Dernie’s Exhibition Design book we took some key words to help direct our design process; SEQUENCE, DISCOVER and EXPOSE. Our team mate Sophie had recently visited an installation in Copenhagen with a suspended cinema space and we were keen to try something similar in our own design. We considered what materials were light and cost effective that we could use and how the exhibition could be easily dismantled for transportation. We also deliberated on how we could incorporate our new brand identity – our bright pink IED 2020 logo into the design!


We created an emotive model using some old scraps we found in the workshop to help us visualise how the exhibition space could be put together and how people would move around in the space. We also though about how we could have our suspended cinema space as a big focal point in the centre with a mattress or seating area underneath where people could stop for a rest or a ‘slump’.


The next stage consisted of a lot of different sketches and model making. We thought about what materials were suitable for flat packing and slotting together in different ways including cardboard and MDF. We considered how we could incorporate our brand and suspended cinema space. Also how the overall exhibition space would be set up or ‘sequenced’ so that people would ‘discover’ the central cinema focal point. It took us a lot of experimentation until we could come up with a final design.


The final design is made from a pine frame and polycarbonate sheeting making it lightweight and cost-effective. It utilises traditional Japanese carpentry methods of interlocking wooden joints where no nails are required; making it simple to dismantle, transport and put back together again. The polycarbonate sheets create an almost ethereal transparency where you can almost see through to next display as you make your way through the maze or ‘sequence’ of exhibits. The displays can also be set up in different ways; back to back, mirror imaging each other or side by side. Extra hanging pegs and shelf heights can be added or adjusted according to the exhibitor’s needs.



As part of the brief we had to create a final 1:5 scale model of our exhibition display. To do this we set out to make it as we would the full size model… with no nails or glue! We created the wooden joints in the workshop using the traditional Japanese methods and for the smaller areas where wooden pegs and dowels would be used we had to make do with smaller pins. We also created the suspended cinema box using the same methods but this ended up being quite a challenge to suspend from the ceiling in the studio! Last but not least I came up with a logo for our team name: The Sequence Slots: Slotting into place, with a cinema space!

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