As part of Irish Design 2015, Emmett was invited to participate in New Horizon, Architecture from Ireland, the flagship architecture initiative of the year of Irish Design. Emmett was invited to make an exhibition of the work of nine other Irish architects. The first iteration of Nine Lives, the title of the exhibition, was presented at the Design Museum as part of the London Architecture Festival in June 2015. Presented here is the exhibition on its return to Ireland as part of Kilkenny Arts Festival.
The initial brief was to curate and design an exhibition that showcased the work of nine emerging Irish architects. The aim was to communicate the craft of architecture to an audience in an accessible and engaging and exciting way.
A development of an earlier iteration of the exhibition shown in London, the brief was also to make an exhibition that highlighted each architect’s distinct work, while also offering a view on anything that was held in common among the architects – to present unity in diversity. The show also had to propose an innovative way of displaying architectural content, to enable a broad audience access to architecture – an often difficult design discipline to display in an exhibition setting. The show was to be spread across two gallery spaces, each presenting distinct challenges to the design and curation of the show.
A site-specific exhibition was designed. Each of the nine architects was given a shutter-box display, occupying the windows of the gallery space, putting the work the architects into the light. There are three types of shutter-box responding to three window types. Drawings, images and models – typical exhibition content – were augmented by up-to-date and specifically made photos of the buildings in use and visual and written contributions from architects and occupants alike, arguing that architecture is made both by design and through us.
Colour is used to foreground the high quality photographic work and to relax the audience into reading, viewing, linerging and leaning with and on the shutter-box content. A5 cards allow the work displayed to read like a story, one on-going and continuing, as the life of these buildings gets played out into the future.