In the news

19 October 2021

Eithne Owens Speaks to Design Week about Designing for Temporary Exhibitions


Eithne Owens, our Creative Director, recently spoke to Design Week's Molly Long all about how we overcome challenges and seize opportunities when designing for travelling exhibitions. Specifically, Eithne and Molly spoke about the challenge of graphics in the context of our work on the travelling Vincent van Gogh exhibition which we developed in partnership with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

There is always an element of ‘bespokery’ when it comes to touring exhibitions.

Eithne Owens, Creative Director

Read highlights from the piece below.

Travelling graphics present a separate challenge. Graphics are typically printed on less durable material and often need replacing between venues, says Event studio creative director Eithne Owens. Additionally, translations may need to be carried out.

“Translation needs to be considered both figuratively and literally,” she says. “We need to consider how graphics and text can be translated from English into other languages, but also if something needs translating ‘culturally’, like adding more context, for example.”

Event’s work with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, for example, used immersive lightboxes to ensure that visitors could interpret and experience the painters’ work, without the pieces themselves. “The museum does not tour its paintings, but wanted a way to bring them to other countries still,” Owens explains.

Using graphics and lightboxes, the team was able to create an experience that allowed visitors to “step into the paintings they know so well”, Owens says, adding that the experience has travelled around Europe, Asia and North America.

As with other examples, Event’s Van Gogh exhibition used a modular system to arrange the lightboxes. A lot of effort was expended trying to find ones that were durable enough to travel. Interactive elements were selected for the same purpose.

However, Owens says the end result still differed in every country it went to, and that is to be expected. “There is always an element of ‘bespokery’ when it comes to touring exhibitions, and while they’re similar you’re never going to have exactly the same experience in one venue as another.

“They need to be capable of reinventing themselves – the trick is to just try and picture as many scenarios as you possibly can,” Owens says.

Read the article in full here.