design awards

Category: Green Exhibits
Exhibitor: Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts
Design/Fabrication: Z-A Studio, New York, 917-922-6690,
Show: Sculptural Objects & Functional Art (SOFA), 2008
Budget: $17,000
Size: 25-by-40 feet
Cost/Square Foot: $17

hen the Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts (AIDA) approached New York-based Z-A Studio to design an exhibit that showcased the work of four AIDA artists, it needed something that would catch the eyes of attendees without overshadowing the artwork.

To complicate matters, AIDA wanted the exhibit — which would debut at the 2008 Sculptural Objects & Functional Art (SOFA) expo in Chicago — to be environmentally responsible. It also needed Z-A Studio to create the entire 25-by-40-foot structure for a mere $17,000.

With those objectives in mind, Z-A Studio turned to some nontraditional materials: roughly 1,000 cardboard tubes cut at 12-inch increments between 1 and 7 feet in length. Positioned in stalagmite-like groups, the tubes jutted from the floor to create a series of islands, each of which showcased a different artist’s work. Designers arranged the 8-inch diameter cardboard tubes in unique topographical shapes so that platforms of laser-cut Plexiglas could rest atop the tubes and create display surfaces for the artwork. The platforms were then lit from below by blue-hued, battery-powered disks of LED lights.

The tubes — made of recyclable cardboard — along with the low-energy LED lights helped Z-A Studio achieve its Green mandate, as did the choice of flooring, or rather the lack thereof. Atop the bare concrete of the exhibit hall, simple straight lines of red tape edged display areas, creating paths that led attendees through the space.

While one Exhibit Design Awards judge referred to the exhibit as, “fun, functional, and fanciful,” a second judge commented on the designers’ innovative solution to an environmental challenge. “This is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to see in the Green Exhibits category,” the judge said. “It’s inventive. It’s interesting. It’s a winner.”e

Brian Todd, staff writer;

click to enlarge, drag to move click to enlarge, drag to move click to enlarge, drag to move Low Tech, High Art
Low-tech materials — cardboard tubes, Plexiglas, and battery-powered LED disks — gave this exhibit for the Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts an eco-chic aesthetic that set a striking scene for the high-end artwork on display.


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