People, Places, Things
Sam Jacob Studio for architecture and design
is a collaborative practice that makes
buildings, places, strategies and objects.

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Fear & Love / Design Museum

Exhibition design for the inaugural show at the new Design Museum, titled Fear And Love: Reactions to a Complex World that featured 11 original installations by designers including OMA/AMO, Hussein Chalayan, Andrés Jaque and Metahaven.

The Financial Times review noted: “The exhibition design, by Sam Jacob Studio, is simple and superb, with sinister grey pleated curtains making sense of a route through the space and adding a touch of medicalisation and mystery.”

The design plays on the ambiguity at the heart of the exhibition, creating a curving ‘soft baroque’ plan. A 190 metre long curtain acts a single, simple gesture winding through the gallery to create a variety of opposing spatial sensations. It forms rooms, loose enclosures and alcoves that shift between open and closed, inside and outside, small and large, dark and light.

The curtain guides visitors through the space and frames the individual installations creating variety but with a controlled consistency throughout the show.

Materially, the design uses a simple palette of curtains to create a visual language that is not easily placed. A dark grey translucent PVC gives a futuristic and industrial feel, while its sharp and sinuous folds suggest a sense of luxury. This is contrasted with a Kvadrat felt curtain that gives sensations of warmth and texture. The combination of these materials creates rich and varying effects of translucency and enclosure.

Justin McGuirk, curator of Fear And Love and chief curator at the Design Museum said: “Sam Jacob Studio’s exhibition design was central to setting the mood of Fear and Love: it creates a dream-like space that, in the most elegant way, heightens the sense of uncertainty that the exhibition explores.”

Design Museum