How might we Reimagine
the Art Museum Experience
Creating a museum pop-up exhibit inspired by Yayoi KUSAMA
The Enchanted Lilies, a week long pop-up interactive experience for 20,000+ patrons, created by the community of students and designers. The exhibit reduced pressure from the visiting exhibit and allowed for patrons to enjoy the art museum experience with an interactive approach.
Design an experience inspired by the Infinity Mirrors to supplement the traditional High museum experience.
Museum Exhibit Design
Product Life Cycle Management
Design Education Facilitation
Electronics Programming & Design
I was the lead for the project team made up of 15 designers, 25 undergraduate engineering students, and 90 high school students. My duties were to define the research plan, set expectation with the stakeholders, conduct research with the users and stakeholders, organize and execute a product life cycle , co-facilitate educational workshops for students and stakeholders, and fabricate the pop-up experience. I would uncover key insights and identify opportunity areas for post project engagement for further collaboration.
The Innovation Design Collaborative at Georgia Tech partnered with the High Museum to co-launch a pop up exhibit inspired by the visiting Yayoi Kusama exhibit. The High museum is the leading art museum in the Southeastern United States. The brief contemplating creating an experience to supplement the large amount of visitors for the Infinity Mirrors exhibit with a different perspective to the immersive experience.
Yayoi Kusama is Japanese contemporary Artist who works primarily in sculpture and installations and famous for her Infinity Mirrors. Her work is primarily consist of conceptual art that emphasized attributes of feminism, minimalism, surrealism, . She has been acknowledged as Andy Warhol’s equal during her time in New York City and considered one most prominent living artists to come out of Japan.
For 7 months, the team defined parameters of based on insights discovered through user research, stakeholder interviews, location opportunities, and market research. The process collaborated heavily among the worlds of fine arts, academics, and designers. The team approach approached multiple objectives in subgroups all in parallel coordination to meet the deadline of the opening night.
The project took on multiple phases of research and fabrication to iterate on the product life cycle. The most relevant cycles were the following:
Researching the artist and defining the scope of the project
Facilitating educational workshops
Reframing the customer experience
Designing the physical assets of the pop-up experience
Understanding the Big Picture
During the research phase, the team conducted multiple phases of user interviews, background research, collaboration with museum, academic, and public stakeholders to gather a holistic view of the non-traditional museum experience.
The team observed the museums daily routines and its seasonal changes to identify potential opportunities areas in the environment of limited space of the museum.
The team then interviewed every level of stakeholders in the fine arts industry ranging from the museum curators to the marketer which highlighted unexpected patterns for us to shift our perspectives on our overall approach.
Furthermore, during the fabrication phase, the team researched different methods to produce an experience under a rigid budget and strict time constraints.
The team identified that the experience had to be interactive compared to the traditional non tangible approach to museums. Reframing the materials and tools used for the modular design with educational components baked into the process and material.
Based on the insights we identified, two opportunity areas were the following:
Reframing the Museum Experience
Instead of creating a quiet and limited journey throughout the exhibit, the team encouraged the patrons to engage with other patrons in conversation and create a social environment for people to enjoy the experience together. Because of the short duration of the exhibit, it allowed the patrons to experience multiple phases of the exhibit during their one visit.
Please Touch the Exhibit
Contrary to the traditional museum experience, the exhibit encouraged interaction from their patrons without fear of damaging the exhibit. The experience was created to be engaged with and be completed by the patrons instead of patrons observing a work of art.
As a result of the project were the following:
Successfully weeklong launch
The Enchanted Lilies launched the High museum’s first innovation collaborative hub in collaboration with the Yayoi Kusama exhibit. The projected focused on three topics of desirability, feasibility, and viability allowing the team to complete a successful launch of the experience for both the students and the museum stakeholders.
The experience opened up doors for the academic organizations to collaborate with the fine arts sector on further engagements. This was the opportunity to show Atlanta’s youngest makers that they can engage with the previously unreachable fine art’s world.
This project was an incredible source of personal and professional challenges. The most relevant lessons as a project manager and designer were the following:
An intensive research study will not always convince stakeholders that the opportunities identified will be valuable. How the team communicates value that dovetails into their common values will allow for great collaboration and less friction when the project has to tackle sensitive or political roadblocks.
Always plan for a contingency plan, allowing designers to incorporate challenges as design opportunities so that stakeholders and members will not be pressured to only follow one journey to a successful product.