Nordic Craft and Design

Exhibition Identity
Exhibition Design
Exhibition Build
Editorial Design

Client: Manchester Art Gallery

Photography: Sebastian Matthes

Showcasing furniture, fashion, lighting, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery, Nordic Craft and Design highlights the superb quality and creativity inherent in design from the region and features pieces from 1930 to the present day.

Our exhibition design was in direct response to the pieces on show in the exhibition with great considering to complimenting the range of items displayed. Materiality was central to our approach, using a mixture of natural woods, sleek acrylics and textural recycled plastics. Clever use of light is an important feature of Nordic design we explored this through reflective and transparent materials, allowing light to flow freely through the space. We used reflective materials and levelled staging to created a set of unique sightlines for visitor to discover the pieces from all angles.

Muted use of gradient colours and unexpected use of shape for plinths echo the playful nature of Nordic design without compromising functionality.

Manchester Art Gallery is a listed building and the walls of the design gallery space cannot be used for signage. We designed a system of banners for the previous exhibition Modern Japanese Design and it has been in use since. These large interpretation text banners are hung from the columns meaning that no holes need to be drilled for installation, helping to naturally section out areas in the exhibition space. This system continues to be developed for each new show.

Functionality is central to the Nordic approach to design, from Arne Jacobsen to IKEA. With this in mind we developed a simple ‘flatpack’ system for interpretive object labels with optional feet to easily turn flat labels into free-standing signs. This allowed the curators more freedom in the positioning of pieces, with the choice of different feet shapes and the ability to mix and match materials injecting a sense of playfulness.