i+D - July/August 2019 - 38

On View - By Jesse Bratter

2013-A Bostonian
enjoys one of the "Street
Seats," The Knot Bench
by Pillow Culture. His
bike is leaned against a
beacon with information
and wayfinding for the
outdoor exhibition.
(Image: Design Museum
Foundation)

In 2013, Design Museum Boston, part of Design Museum
Foundation's (DMF's) national network, transformed the
1.5-mile loop around the city's Fort Point Channel into "Street
Seats," an outdoor exhibition showcasing 18 benches
commissioned from more than 170 entries hailing from
23 countries and 24 states. The goal? "To create a walking
tour of great design, complete with educational signage and
wayfinding, along with digital and physical maps to navigate
the exhibit," says DMF Executive Director Sam Aquillano.
It was their largest undertaking to date, and helped to support
the nomadic museum's mission of bringing the transformative
power of design literally everywhere. "We inspire people by
showing what's possible with design through public exhibitions,
events, and content," Aquillano adds. "We educate people
to become creative problem solvers using the design process;
and, we transform, using design to take action and make
change, demonstrating its impact."
Since its inception, DMF has partnered with public entities
like Boston City Hall to tell visual stories of the Boston design
scene, as well as at Logan International Airport, where they
created an exhibit inspired by the venue called "Getting
There: Design for Travel in the Modern Age." Then, there was
the "Extraordinary Playscape" exhibit, which brought more
than 40 case studies on the effects of outdoor play on child
development to seven different cities (and they even installed
permanent outdoor playgrounds in four of them). There was
even the small, but mighty "Bespoke Bodies: The Design &
Craft of Prosthetics" exhibition, which they installed in half of
a shipping container for a preview during the innovation-driven
HubWeek in Boston last fall. That exhibit was later relocated to
the Prudential Center Mall in Boston, where it will be on display
through August 23, 2019. Sometimes, these exhibits last
long after the show has run its course. After "Street Seats,"
DMF worked with the city government to obtain permits to
install some of the designs as permanent public benches,
and later brought the concept to another DMF location-
Portland, Oregon-in 2018.

"Putting our exhibitions and events
in places where people already
go allows us to turn the museum
inside out and turn the entire city
into the Design Museum."
-SAM AQUILLANO,
DESIGN MUSEUM FOUNDATION

38

All of these efforts have allowed DMF to reach audiences that a traditional
museum might not-audiences who might not otherwise have gone to
a museum. It also has brought the group accolades. In 2017, the American
Society of Interior Designers (ASID) named DMF winner of the Design
Innovation Award, an honor bestowed for producing an innovative body
of work that makes a significant contribution to the advancement of the
profession of interior design. DMF keeps the community, their donors,
sponsors, and members engaged through digital marketing, a quarterly
magazine, and good, old-fashioned happenstance. "I love doing outdoor
exhibitions-I just love the reaction of people stopping in their tracks, lifting
their gaze from their smart phone, and smiling after discovering one of
our pop-up exhibitions," Aquillano says. "So, for me, the best locations for
us are outside, highly foot-trafficked urban environments. Putting our
exhibitions and events in places where people already go allows us to turn
the museum inside out and turn the entire city into the Design Museum."
All of these outdoor exhibits, however, have big challenges to face.
Among them: They have to be built sturdily enough to withstand the
elements. DMF's exhibits, Aquillano explains, have survived rain, snow, and
even St. Patrick's Day parades. They also need to be able to be easily scaled,
transported, and broken down while still conveying information, inspiring
audiences, and making a memorable impression. And, they've done so
thanks to a team of talent with backgrounds in design, business, curation,
education, and event production-and by collaborating with top firms the
likes of Gensler, Stantec, Reebok, Shepley Bulfinch, and others.

i+D - July/August 2019



i+D - July/August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - July/August 2019

Contents
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