”Visitors should feel that they can influence the future”
An exhibition that makes visitors feel welcome and involved and that they can influence their future. That was TAF architectural studio’s aim when they created the exhibition design for The Future Starts Here.
The duo at TAF, Gabriella Gustafson and Mattias Ståhlbom, are experienced exhibition designers, who create at least two to three exhibition designs a year. The Future Starts Here is their third for ArkDes.
“It’s fun to work with spatiality and objects, and it’s fun to work publicly with visitors. We like those parameters,” says Gabriella Gustafson.
The starting point for their work with The Future Starts Here was to communicate the subject, the future, with the help of building materials. TAF chose wood wool, which is a light and sound-absorbent material, to create a quiet exhibition environment and help make visitors feel that the future is bright and hopeful.
The exhibition is organised around four themes: Self, Public, Planet and Afterlife. The themes are separated by a wall that becomes higher as the visitor moves deeper into the exhibition.
“We wanted to play with the experience of the scale of the human body in relation to the exhibition’s four main themes. You’re smaller in the last theme and bigger in the first. All room dividers have a specially formed sine wave, which brings to mind eternity and natural cycles,” says Gabriella Gustafson.
A fundamental idea in TAF’s philosophy of exhibition design is that the background should not stand out too much, but should primarily function to highlight the objects and be in balance with whatever is being exhibited. Visitors should also feel as if they’re part of the exhibition and not just passive observers, especially when the subject is how the design of the future may affect us and the world we live in. One challenge TAF faced was that the British Victoria & Albert Museum, where the exhibition originated in 2018, posed strict restrictions on how the objects could be presented.
“I think we succeeded in creating a welcoming and inviting exhibition design that highlights the objects in a clear and direct way, and invites visitors to both look and interact, even though most of the objects are in Plexiglas cases. Visitors should feel that they can influence the future,” says Gabriella Gustafson.