Frank Gehry. Architect

Exhibition for Swire Properties

This exhibition about the creative process of the world-renowned architect was mounted in Sanlitun Village, Beijing in 2010 and later reconfigured at Artistree, Hong Kong. From conception to finished product, the exhibition provided an insightful look into his unique method of combining traditional, hands-on design techniques with industry-leading computer technology.

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The challenge

In the lead up to the unveiling of Frank Gehry's first building in Asia, Opus Hong Kong, Swire Properties wanted to introduce the master architect to people living in China and Hong Kong who would make up the majority of the target audience of ultra-luxury property buyers. With the team at Swire, we developed a plan to educate the public about the significance of Gehry's work and the value of the new building on Stubbs Road in Hong Kong.

Our Approach

By taking visitors on a journey through Frank Gehry's history of innovative architecture, we gave them an appreciation of the creative process behind the contorted shapes and high-tech materials of his buildings. By developing the content alongside the layout and design, we were able to give visitors a fully integrated experience. To visually represent the idea of design process, we designed environment to look like a workshop, with a focus on Gehry’s hand sketches for the visual identity.

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Only physical models would convincingly represent the twisted geometry of Gehry's architecture. Along with beautiful large-scale photos of his most iconic work, models played a big part in describing the forms of buildings, such as the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain.

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The spaces for the exhibition – Sanlitun Village in Beijing and ArtisTree at Island East in Hong Kong – were transformed with the displays, furniture, shelving and other design elements that we designed specifically for the show. The chipboard panel construction paid homage to the simplicity and materiality of Gehry's work process, while directing visitors’ attention to the models on display.

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We used the façade of the building at Sanlitun Village in Beijing to show the identity of the exhibition in an oversized scale to create an arresting impact within the retail and leisure environment of the Village. The colour palette of charcoal, black and hints of red contrasts sharply with the raw, unfinished materials found in the exhibition interior.

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The graphic language carried over to the exhibition website and other marketing collaterals such as brochure, leaflet, bags and more.