Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Toni-Areal
October 23, 2020 – June 20, 2021
The exhibition Total Space at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich invites visitors to immerse themselves in an overall sensory experience of space. Five design studios have created spaces for active discovery especially for the novel exhibition. While virtual formats are increasingly expanding the museum into the digital space these days – a trend that has been greatly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic – visceral sensory experience is taking on a whole new meaning in on-site exhibitions. Elaborate stage sets and expansive installations captivate museum visitors all over the world. The new exhibition format known as Total Space dissolves the distance between viewers and the exhibited object, thus allowing them to immerse themselves in multi-layered experiential spaces.
The Museum für Gestaltung Zürich has now responded to this trend by inviting five design studios to create their own Total Space. The teams take a variety of different approaches to creating spaces where visitors will want to linger so they can vividly experience the effects of these designed environments. Innovative spatial concepts devised by five design studios The duo Kueng Caputo from Zurich presents a dense forest of columns that repurposes by-products from the various stages of their design process from initial idea to finished design, thus rendering the process both visible and tangible.
The Luftwerk studio from Chicago modulates color, light, and form to shape a lively yet meditative environment that contracts and expands as it goes through continuous transformations. In response to the sterile White Cube-the typical white-walled museum space-the team from Soft Baroque in London tries to throw visitors off balance in a Total Space that endlessly rotates and tilts. The Berlin design office Sucuk und Bratwurst for their part allude to the completely scale-free digital world where they do most of their work with an oversized children’s room, a surreal installation that blurs the boundaries to analogue reality. Finally, in the mirror cabinet designed by the Zurich architect duo Trix and Robert Haussmann visitors find themselves at center stage as they experience the illusion of infinite spatial depth created by reflections.
Overview and background. Visitors can experience the five spaces without referring to any explanatory texts, but if they would like some background information on the exhibition’s theme, they will find it in a central round room resembling a walk-in Wikipedia article. Several additional rooms function as footnotes, illustrating the new term Total Space with examples from the past and present. The exhibition thus not only provides a current overview of the subject but also reflects on the future of sensually staged museum experiences.