Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, the arts division of the philanthropic organization Fundacion Cisneros, recently called upon the digital and design pros at Bluecadet to add an extra dimension of interactivity to a new exhibit at Spain's National Museum of 20th century art, the Madrid-based Reina Sofia. Bluecadet did more than rise to the challenge, teaming up with museum curators early in the planning process to create a fully integrated experience that could engage museum guests before, during, and after their visit.
The result, La Invencion Concreta: Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, is a stunning and immersive new exhibit of Latin American geometric abstraction that includes a sophisticated website, an iPad app, and a detailed, floor-to-ceiling concept map in the exhibition itself, all courtesy of Bluecadet. The digital studio also helped to craft the overall look and feel of La Invencion Concreta, designing a custom style guide and elegant title treatments for the exhibit in both physical and digital space.
"The wonderful thing about this project is that we were brought in before any of the graphic design or identity was set for the exhibition, so we were able to create everything as one completely integrated product," noted Bluecadet Design Director Troy LaChance. "Our intention was not to recreate the gallery experience in a digital format, or even to create something new. Rather, we focused on representing the artist's intentions and weaving the museum and digital elements into one experience."
This focus is evident in the deft translation of the studio's overall aesthetic vision across multiple media. The concept map - which uses 900 square feet of wall space to lay out the dense web of artists, groups, movements, and concepts that underlie the exhibition - seamlessly integrates with iPads made available by the museum. The same graphic style that characterizes this map is deployed across web, iPad and throughout the physical exhibition space, echoing Bluecadet's warmly sophisticated color palette and geometrically-inspired type treatments in each realm of experience.
This carefully considered and integrated design ethic also extends to the technical features of the La Invencion Concreta website and iPad app. Rather than merely display the exhibit's artwork with attendant facts and figures, Bluecadet created a responsive and immersive digital experience to engage the user both in and out of the museum space. Users gearing up for the exhibit with a visit to the website can learn more about geometric abstraction and the concepts behind it. During the visit, Bluecadet's title work, digital and physical concept maps, and mobile audio tours combine to guide the user through the space. After a visit, interactive elements allow users to create their own custom-curated tours, to share their favorite pieces through a variety of social media channels, and to take informal quizzes that pose insightful, qualitative questions about the artwork.
Key to the project's success was the close collaboration between Bluecadet, the Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, and the Museo Reina Sofia. Using Basecamp to share files, calendars, and ideas across different countries, they worked tirelessly to develop concepts, bridging cultural and language barriers. Bluecadet even diligently built their own library on geometric abstraction at their offices, intimately familiarizing themselves with the art and cultural context in order to help them shape a better show.
"To create a truly integrated pre-, in-, and post-visit experience, we needed to be involved at the ground floor," explained Creative Director Josh Goldblum. "By being involved in the project before any of the graphic design, interpretive signage, or digital experiences were created, we were able to design all of these elements as one complete experience. It also allowed us to identify other areas where we could contribute beyond the original scope and made for a more comprehensive final product."