STUDIO ANDREW TODD
PQ 2011 Exhibition Design and Build
Paris, France and Prague, Czech Republic
‘Discovery’ is the title of the French National Exhibit in the Architecture section of the 2011 Prague Quadrennial of Theatre Space and Design; we curated and designed the exhibit (for exhibition content, please see here). The exhibition took place in the inspiring surroundings of the Prague Crossroads, the personal cultural centre of the late Czech President Vaclav Havel. There were two principal challenges for the design of the exhibit, laid down by section curator Dorita Hannah: the format is that of a table (1m80 long by 75 cm wide); and the exhibit should engage with the difficulties of exhibiting the theatre, which is a temporal and spatial art resisting capture and representation.
Our solution consisted of a kind of magic box made of steel, which appeared closed, brutal and slightly industrial upon approach, but invited discovery by the user of its various secrets. There is a well beneath a trap which contains curious objects –a bullet, a model submarine, an old theatre ticket, a biscuit- which relate to the four spaces shown in the box; there are two large traps whose opening triggers the projection of short films about the Bouffes du Nord and Theatre du Soleil; there is a steel periscope which reveals a slideshow of the Saint Nazaire submarine base as transformed by LIN architects; and there are 12 posters on spring-loaded rollers which show images of three of the projects, plus long descriptive texts. The posters which extend vertically are double-sided, inviting conversation between participants who may be looking at the verso of another’s poster.
The object’s steel casing was crafted with immense care by Ateliers Hubert Jourdain –part of the Compagnons du Devoir network of artisans. The interior contents (posters, displays, computer screens and hard drives) were fabricated and installed in our workshop.
Studio Andrew Todd architects