Finalist 2019

Escher x Nendo: Between Two Worlds

National Gallery of Victoria / nendo

A ground-breaking exhibition surveying the work of Dutch artist MC Escher in dialogue with work and spaces designed in collaboration with acclaimed Japanese design studio nendo.

The resulting exhibition reveals the mastery of both practices, bringing together the world of art and contemporary design. This exhibition examines and pushes the boundaries of what exhibition design can be, integrating Escher’s artwork seamlessly into the spatial design.

Design Excellence

We invited Japanese design studio nendo to collaborate with our in-house design team to create unique spatial environments within the museum that draw inspiration from artist MC Escher.

Working collaboratively allowed for a unique design approach that forges new ground in the gallery setting. Each room provides a unique design gesture that exhibits nendo’s own methodology whilst aligning with Escher’s practice and preoccupations, creating a symbiotic relationship between the space and the work displayed. There is equal footing within this exhibition between artist and designer, leading to an outcome that is greater than their pairing.

Design Impact

The ultimate goal, and result, was to create a visionary exhibition that seamlessly presents both MC Escher and nendo together. The exhibition concept was:

  • To present an internationally significant, break-through exhibition of Escher’s art
  • To work with nendo to create though-provoking spaces, installations or environments in response to the theme and devices prevalent in Escher’s practice
  • To present ground-breaking exhibition design, systems and environments for the display of Escher’s art
  • To display seminal design objects by nendo.

The design of this exhibition illustrates how ideas form loosely and tangentially, coming together to achieve incredibly complex and sophisticated outcomes.

Design Transformation

Throughout the exhibition the basic form of the house is used as a building block to explore Escher’s concepts and spatial forms. The exhibition covers approx. 1550 square metres and when experienced sequentially the design process as a whole is invoked. Basic forms, geometric shapes, the contrast of black and white, and light and darkness mimic and compliment Escher’s practice, seamlessly folding the work and design into the other.

Design Innovation

Achieved through close collaboration, we are proud to have created a unique opportunity to explore the work of Escher and nendo in dialogue, amplifying the themes and devices within both practices, expressed through art, architecture, exhibition design, furniture, graphics and merchandise. Revealing the capacity to design objects and spaces that transcend traditional geometry, form and perspective to successfully manipulate spatial perception within the audience – the exhibition sets out to question how we perceive the world through design.

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