Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700–1900, at the Victoria & Albert Museum, brought together the finest examples of Chinese painting from small-scale intimate works by monks and literati through to scroll paintings over 14 metres long, many of which had never before been seen in the UK.
Cartlidge Levene designed the exhibition graphics and interpretation materials working closely with exhibition architects Stanton Williams to achieve an elegance and lightness of touch to the narrative which compliments the delicate objects and leads the visitor round the display.
The exhibition design approach was inspired by the traditions of Chinese architecture, incorporating elements such as courtyards, thresholds and views across and through walls. The exhibition was split into six sections, curated to show the works in chronological order. Six distinct spaces were connected by thresholds, which emphasise a sense of transition when visitors cross from one section to the next.
We emphasised the thresholds with large scale dates, carved into wall surfaces. Each of these thresholds was a different colour acting as a navigational thread and key sightlines were exploited with typographic elements and colour, subtly pulling the visitor through the space.
We chose the typeface Futura for its pureness of form and its clarity at both large and small scale. Label text was internally illuminated against dark backgrounds and integrated into the display cases to create floating text elements, free from the constraints of conventional label panels.
ISTD Awards 2014 Premier Award: Exhibition Design/ Signage Systems