The RISD Museum’s collection of 20th Century Art and Design is curated from the diverse disciplines of fine art, design, and textiles. Our challenge was to present the body of work without blurring or submerging it within a dominating architecture.
The mandate was primarily educational—to make the collection visible to students as much as possible despite the confined, heavily columned existing space and to maintain specific concentrations and juxtapositions of objects to provoke critical discussion.
As an attempt to relate the works on display to mid-century modern architecture, we developed a series of ‘floating walls’—a strategy that increased wall space and concealed the existing columns. Two large platforms span each pair of walls, cantilevering beyond a continuous central window and allowing a survey glance through the century-long chronology. Interchangeable risers bring three-dimensional design objects closer to the viewer, while smaller cases are placed between each sandwich of walls.