As part of the firm’s expansion and renovation of the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Allied Works developed an exhibition design strategy, and designed a system of custom exhibition furniture. As an institution that occupies an historic 1908 building as well as a contemporary addition, the challenge was to design a flexible system that could accommodate a wide array of artifacts and space types, and serve as a bridge between the two structures and the museum’s collection.
Allied Works collaborated with the museum’s director and curatorial staff on the overall exhibition design plan and to determine the aesthetic vision for the exhibition furniture, as well as the main reception desk, museum store furnishings and gallery seating.
The exhibition furniture is composed of open and closed pedestals, display tables and shelving. The display furniture references the form and detailing of historic furniture from periods parallel to the museum’s art collection, including early American, European and Asian precedents. These traditions helped establish the pieces’ material palette and proportions, and inspired signature details such as the pedestal base corner and freestanding table leg. At the same time, the simplicity of the form complements artworks from many time periods and stylistic traditions.