Exhibition Design

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Being a successful designer means that having an excellent way of communicating design is a must, one of the perfect way in communicating design or art works in any scale is by conducting an exhibition. Depending on the contents and contexts, an exhibition can consists of smaller exhibitions that are often related to each other in some way. Modern exhibitions includes art, photography, design, products, fashion and so on, exhibition is often not limited to a certain category but rather a combination of conceptual experiences represented in different manners to either suit with the historical, political, religious, mythical or social environment of the subject in exhibition.

Contemporary exhibition is often relied on the ties between ‘approaches’ and ‘technology’, approaches are referring to the narrative space, performative space and simulated experience, while the ‘technology’ aspect plays an important role in how an exhibition will be delivered, what needs to be arranged, lightings, display, graphics, colours and multimedia (Dernie, 2006). The history of exhibition design is hard to track back, as it is unknown when is the first time human started to communicate the their aspect of experience through the power of exhibition. Exhibitions evolved along with human democratisation and continue to adapt within the society. Once was only to be referred exclusively to the rich, powerful and elite-educated, exhibitions are now conducted in a more flexible manner for a wider range of audience.

The earliest known form of exhibition is ‘The Cabinet of Curiosities’ which was emerging during mid sixteenth century, as people usually travellers started to display unique and exotic items obtained during travelling in private manner (Skolnick, Lorenc & Berger, 2007, P. 13). Objects in display could include paintings, preserved animals/animal parts, plants and its parts, ceramics, crafts, statue, costumes and gems. ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ is usually referred to a ‘room of display’ and the way people display their works within the room was probably the starting point of exhibition design, items are displayed in different ways, sorted according to unique classification, either by their shapes, colours, types, forms and materials.

In today’s exhibition, design plays a bigger role in delivering the narrative element of the object in display. National Museum of Australia is a good example of successful exhibition, as it built and design through the right frame of reference with a specific target audience in focus. The museum was built purposely to preserve the culture and tradition of Australia and its surrounding including the aboriginals (Morgan, 2003, para. 5), smaller exhibitions inside the museum includes First Australians: Gallery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples traces the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Horizons: The Peopling of Australia since 1788, Nation: Symbols of Australia explores common expressions like 'G'day' and 'mate' and symbols of national identity from the flag, to Anzac, the kangaroo and Vegemite, Old New Land: Australia's People and Environment. Within each exhibitions, the designs were able to give the viewer a unique experience as well as telling the stories behind each ones. National Museum of Australia is considered the newest exhibition space in Canberra, however it certainly has not disappoints the public, as it is rapidly gaining reputation and popularity.

Beside the permanent and temporary exhibitions, National Museum of Australia is also well known for its travelling exhibition that covers different theme each season, mostly about but not limited to Australians. The travelling exhibition is somewhat contributing to the success of the museum by keeping new interests of the audience encouraging them into future visits. Another important success factor for the museum is undoubtly came from the designers either on the architectural structure or the...
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