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To Design is to Construct: Lina Bo Bardi, an Exhibition

Lina Bo Bardi. Political activist, furniture designer, architect, set designer, exhibition designer. Each design informs the next. Each design provokes thought. In conceiving and designing the exhibition, “Lina Bo Bardi: To Teach is to Construct,” we sought to increase knowledge of Bo Bardi’s work whether the viewer was a student of architecture and design or not. During a time when Brazil was still emerging as an industrialized nation, Lina Bo Bardi developed creative ways to work within small budgets (a situation we also contend with). In addition to the very tight budget, three of Bo Bardi’s ideas influenced our exhibition design: [1] the use of simple devices to display the material, [2] the separation of exhibited objects from the wall, [3] and the association of concepts and images through visual connections across space. By following these principles, creatively reusing materials already on hand, and repurposing display devices designed by Ronit Eisenbach for earlier shows, we developed a simple and clear way to exhibit Bo Bardi’s ideas and work. In addition to films and books about her life and work, the exhibition includes three components [1] excerpts from Lina Bo Bardi’s book outlining a theory of architecture (Cathrine Veikos), [2] a timeline of her buildings (Zeuler Lima), and [3] photographs of her work (Nelson Kon and Paul Clement). For the viewer, moving through the gallery, these threads and ideas become spatially and visually connected – theoretical materials displayed on hanging wooden surfaces distributed within the space, photographs float on clear plexi-glass panels layer information, and the timeline, films, and books serve as an anchor, reference, and backdrop on the wall. By spatializing her ideas and celebrating the full range of her contributions, our exhibition design transforms viewers into active participants who build their own worldview, suggesting that like Bo Bardi’s work, both the education and practice of architecture, can be expansive and open as well.

On display: October 7, 2015 to January 8, 2016 University of Maryland

School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation 3835 Campus Drive College Park, MD 20742

Phone: (301) 405-8000 (M-F 9am-5pm)

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