Thursday, May 21, 2009

Design for... Longevity

aria mortati, scott moulton

[Scott Moulton posting- a follow up to the Design for Change series]

Designing for change should have the end result of making exhibits that last longer so I thought I would give a couple strategies on designing for longevity.

Use simple solid materials that will take wear and can be resurfaced. Solid wood, plyboo, concrete, recycled glass countertops, all are highly durable and wear in ways that enhance the appearance of the material.

Use materials that are easy to replace, retouch or modify. "Patch and paint" can go a long way to refresh an exhibit. Damaged glass can easily be replaced with a call a local glass shop. Similarly there are sheet metal shops in every town with the ability to make some pretty complex parts.

Designing around the in-house capabilities of the museum is another key way to make an exhibit last. Is the shop more geared towards wood or metal work? How much experience is there with media or electromechanical interactives?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Design for Change: disposal strategies

aria mortati, scott moulton
[Scott Moulton posting... part 3 of a 3 part series]

Finally, once exhibits are no longer useful they need to be easily disassembled and recycling or repurposing. Complex assemblies with multiple materials glued together become trash where as a solid wood tabletop can easily be refinished and used for something else.

Designing for change will create adaptable exhibitions that better serve your visitors, give your exhibits a longer life span, and reduce waste.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Design for Change: what does this mean?

aria mortati, scott moulton
[Scott Moulton posting... part 2 of a 3 part series] This approach does not mean that everything should be built from 80/20 aluminum and live on casters. In fact, unlimited change ends up being terribly inefficient and often goes unutilized. The most important part of this design is deciding what sort of change should be embraced and which should be limited. Is it hourly change that floor staff will be making or seasonal change that the exhibits maintenance will be making? Kitchen type infrastructure can be reprogrammed to be an art studio or kitchen chemistry lab as long as the infrastructure is robust and kept neutral. A simple and well-built table is a background for the wide range of activities that can take place on top of it.
Tomorrow: Disposal Strategies

Monday, May 11, 2009

Design for Change: an introduction

design for change, museums, green design, maria mortati, scott moulton

[Scott Moulton posting... part 1 of a 3 part series]

Change is critical to making a museum a vibrant and relevant place. Hourly change, seasonal change and long-term change all can work to meet the shifting needs and interests of the visitor. Exhibits need to support the change required for visitor contribution, hourly programs, special events, the re-theming of exhibits, and a major reworking of an exhibit gallery.

One solid strategy for designing exhibits that minimize the use of natural materials and waste is to design for change. This strategy can be played out from the scale of the building to a tabletop exhibit...

Tomorrow: what does this mean?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Missing You, WPA

maria mortati
This photo is from the steps of the Fort Collins Museum, formerly the Carnegie Library in that town. Just wondering what the results of a "new" WPA might look like...