Billy Blue Exhibition POD

(EXHIBITION – BUILT – SYDNEY)

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This ‘Special Exhibition POD’ is intended to engage, inform and challenge tertiary design students at Billy Blue College of Design. Its design attempts to show the importance of creative knowledge to students, and encourages them to discover their own inspirations and references, since the POD design deliberately showcases references and influences considered important within the creator’s own work.

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When Billy Blue College of Design moved from North Sydney to a newly renovated warehouse in Ultimo, the fitout allowed for 5 special ‘PODS’ (Exhibition, Styling, Meeting, Collaborative, Incubator) to be designed by five different designers as ‘installations and catalysts to engage in the experiential nature of spatial design’. Each POD was 2.4m x 2.4m x 3.0m with one side open and one side glazed, allowing only 2 walls to be used.

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I was given the ‘Exhibition POD’ and decided to create a space that could not only display a curated range of student work, but one that deliberately drew attention to a range of precedents and influences, to potentially trigger the curiosity of the students who would use it.

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The composition is a complex arrangement of simple white building blocks, playing with light and shadow, (with the additional magic of two mirrors) that may be referencing a jewellery box, an interior, a building or a city; allowing room for the imagination.

The final piece ‘Inspiration Viewing Machine’ is a temporary installation constructed of foam-core, showcasing images of Stephen Varady projects, where you may see links to his inspirations and influences.

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The following text is attached to the side of the Exhibition POD:

‘This ‘Exhibition POD’ is designed to inspire you, the student, highlighting the connection of interior design to the plastic arts.

The design may be referencing:

– the rectilinear ‘Arkhitektons’ of Kazimir Malevich from the 1920s;

– the teachings and drawings of Iakov Chernikhov;

– El Lissitzky, particularly his ‘Proun Space’ and associated ‘Proun’ artworks;

– the entire Russian Constructivist period;

– the interiors of the Rietveld Schroeder House by Gerrit Rietveld;

– the works of Adolf Loos, particularly Villa Müller in Prague;

– the many explorations of orthogonal geometry by Peter Eisenman, especially House I, II & VI;

– echoes of Le Corbusier, Rudolph Schindler and Frank Lloyd Wright;

– and you may even find traces of Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell, Lebbeus Woods and Antony Gormley…

What do you see, and where will your explorations and imagination take you?’

This design delights in the possibilities of sculpted space, respecting its origins which go as far back as the early Greeks and Romans, whilst also evoking 20th century interiors, architecture, art and sculpture. It also facilitates students’ awareness of the ‘experiential’ nature of spatial design (in a highly constricted space) through the use of mirrors which could be said to draw the viewer in and through to ‘the other side’.

Innovation is about combining existing elements to create something new – in this respect the POD combines poetic and historical references in an unconventional manner within the existing rigid steel frame.

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The entire project was provided ‘pro bono’. Materials from Austaron, fabrication by Manooga, lighting by Inlite, project management by Lisa Tatman, design and temporary installation by Stephen Varady, photos by Alexander Mayes.

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