Max Stockdale
22 min readAug 31, 2021


Forms in Context

Hybrid Exhibit Environments

“What are the boundaries of design? What are the boundaries of problems?” -Charles Eames

Things to consider:

  • scale communicates environ.
  • consider the transition(thresholds)
  • gaps=opportunity
  • physical vs. mental environ.
  • evoking emotion

Notes from “What can museum exhibit design teach us about UX design”-Scott Kirkwood

  • how do people interact with the space
  • reading text on the wall
  • examine the label or just consider the visual elements
  • user experience
  • Beverly Serrell — “microcopy”

“most people will read the shortest paragraph first, regardless of where it is in the layout.”-Beverly Serrell

  • labels- 50 words or less
  • tell a story through an exhibit but expect that people may only experience 50 percent of the exhibit or less
  • many labels start with the background, but start with specific and work to general info.
  • start with present and work to the past
  • last paragraph goes on the top
  • try an experiences by guiding someone through it who represents your target audience(who knows nothing about it)
  • ask for feedback(LISTEN)
  • popular items in sight line
  • comfortability
  • “What is the exhibit about?”

— Emotional Sort of Response — Real Connection —

Initial Ideas:

  • layout similar to Sean Scully’s work: The Shape of Ideas in The Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas — development of abstraction over a span of nearly five decades — paintings, drawings, prints, and pastels
  • Van Gogh immersive experience: combination of visuals with an auditory experience — moving images inspired by his style of work and places to sit on the floor for visitors

Ideas for Exhibit:

— Location- Carnegie Museum of Art

Extraordinary Ordinary Things

Locally Sourced

  • Brian Peters: 3D printed w/ ceramics; coded clay
  • Brian Ferell: wooden furniture w/ metal details(top pick so far)
  • Spacapan(glass blowing — references from show:blown away)

Pictures and Notes from CMOA:

  • direct lighting
  • use of natural light
  • lofted and curved ceiling to create a more open layout
  • texture of floor and change of colors per gallery
  • priority of text
  • interactive elements like touch screens to learn more about the photography

I was really drawn to Bart Van Der Leck’s work because he uses simple shapes and lines to create a bigger picture. One piece in particular was a painting titled, “elephant” where he used trapezoids, triangles, primary colors, and line segments to focus on the main elements of the shape of an elephant. Focusing on the more important parts and breaking it down to the most primitive elements.

CMOA also has an exhibit called locally sourced with artists around the
Pittsburgh area. I wasn’t able to see it at the museum but after researching some of the different artists I found three that had some work that resonated with me.

  • Spacapan was one of the artists that has really interesting glass pieces and also interactive experiences with lighting engines.
  • — Using the lights she designed to create a unique environment for her other work would help tie everything together and create a meaningful experience for the viewer.
  • Brian Ferell also has some really unique pieces that focus on furniture, lighting, and tableware. The combination of wood with metal details adds a new twist to traditional woodworking.
  • Using his lighting and tableware as the main focus and then using his modern furniture design as places for people to enjoy his art could create a whole new experience for the audience.
  • Brian Peters work really resonated with me when I explored his work on his website. He works with 3D printed ceramics and crafted clay to create fascinating patterns and interesting light and shadows. Starting with a single 3D printed unit, wall mounts his pieces to create a growing effect.
  • Including the pieces that are at the intersection of architecture, art, and fabrication show the artist’s process and the difference between machine-made objects. Focusing on the process rather than the actual pieces shows that we should focus on growth rather than perfection. Integrating digital coding, custom tech, and clay creates an interesting experience where the viewers would be able to touch the artwork and learn from it.


After a lot of thought, I’ve decided to create an exhibit for Brian Peter’s work. His work as a whole really resonated with me and has a personal meaning to me. The combination of wall art and standing pieces creates a more interactive experience. With the lighting and use of space, I could really create a unique use of Miller ICA without making the space feel too crowded. For my first thoughts, I would add a few walls in the middle of the space. Therefore I could put his work on the surrounding walls and have a standing piece in the middle. I also want some harsh lighting to create some interesting contrast and make some unique shadows. As you walk in, I want there to be a label(50 words or less) with the title of the exhibition and a brief description of his work. If there is enough room, I would also like to have seating for viewers to admire the work. As you walk around to the different pieces, there are descriptions of his process to help people connect with the work. On the way out there is an interactive screen where they can write one word or phrase to sum up their experience or maybe even just put their name. I think music is also an important part of the experience so I would want to create a short playlist of songs that would tie the work together and help people feel more comfortable in the space. Sometimes it can feel awkward when you are standing in a museum because you feel like you need to be quiet but I want there to be conversation about the different pieces. Music in any scenario helps to break the ice and bring people together.

— Focusing on growth rather than perfection —

Playlist ideas:

I’m trying my best to not be cliché, but I want to pick songs to help convey the thought behind the work. He focuses on the combination of hand-made with machine-made so his artwork has flaws, but the imperfection is what makes it unique. I’m trying to find songs that fit this idea of growth and accepting failure and learning from it. Meaningful songs with little to no lyrics but still have rises and falls but end with a content feeling. Above are some ideas, but I am going to continue searching for songs that fit well with his style.

Other thoughts about his work:

  • single modules that come together to form something bigger
  • the use of biomimicry
  • color scheme
  • tension and texture
  • placement and angles


Thinking about the amount of time the average person would generally stay in this exhibit, I would guess they be there from anywhere between 10–30 minutes maximum. After some research, I found the average person spends about 15–30 seconds on each piece. I’m still a little unsure how many pieces I would want in Miller ICA but I would guess there would be around 7–10 pieces. Including some benches and seating would invite people to stay longer and I assume the music would help as well.

Next Steps:

  • draw floor plans and elevations
  • sketch out the space with considerations
  • storyboard interactions
  • create a few moodboards
  • go back to Miller ICA to be in the space
  • start writing up intro and labels

Interaction Ideas:

  • smart board to write reflecting thoughts
  • interactive table to create a module and draw your own designs
  • changes in lighting to create new shadows
  • lighting on the floor to guide your way through the exhibit
  • invitation to feel the texture of the pieces
  • 3D printer working on a module
  • table with tools used throughout the process
  • pre-recorded video with a brief introduction from the artist
  • artist’s contact info on the way out

Moodboard Ideas:

Moodboard 1:

Moodboard Explanation:

For the moodboards above I tried to focus on the use of pattern and color to unify the space. Brian Peter’s work demonstrates biomimicry and repetition. Through this series of work, the use of pattern and light/shadow come together to create a unified piece. Another interesting thing I found was that these blocks can expand and contract to fit the space they are in. There’s beauty in imperfection that is embodied in his work. Working with both machine-made and human-made tools to create his pieces, everything he makes turns out differently. The message I want to make to people is to get out of your comfort zone and focus on personal growth rather than your flaws. In some sense, I believe the flaws are what make you unique and they should be embraced. Something that helps me with this is the fact that I try my best to believe in myself and what I can accomplish rather than the outcome. Everything is unpredictable and is constantly changing so it’s important to live in the moment and enjoy the small things in life.

Floor Plans + Elevations:

Storyboard Ideas:

  • sign out front to welcome visitors in
  • employee desk with brochures and contact info for the artist
  • pedestal with a singular module
  • interactive table with digital pens

Storyboard explanation:

1- visitor sees signage and QR code-takes them to artist’s website

2- enters the space and is welcomed at the reception desk(music playing)

3- get a closer look and learn more about the process

4- visitors are invited to touch the modules on pedestals

5- interactive table allows them to make their own creation

6- learn more about meaning and write one word to reflect on experience

7- retrieve their 3D printed module to take home

8- share their experience on social media

Sep. 7

Crit. Notes(Mihika):

  • collaboration with the artist
  • how does it come together to form an environ?
  • growth rather than perfection
  • music breaks the ice and invites conversation
  • # of people through interaction
  • are there people waiting to use the interaction?
  • show his style outside to reel people in
  • scan QR code at end rather than beginning
  • stay off phone(takes you away from the experience)
  • add biomimicry into interaction
  • 3D printing might take too long
  • what do you want them to know about the artist?
  • purpose of the space(what will they remember?)
  • move past the digital table-instead use motion and gestures to create these shapes
  • think of people physically in your space
  • gestures to create forms
  • something to draw people into the space
  • same headspace(reflective aspects)
  • keep people off their phones
  • digital creation put on a wall(see what it looks like in your own home)
  • figure out some kind of takeaway
  • show central theme through the interactive elements
  • more research about the artist and process
  • interactive piece with the music

Crit. Notes(Peter):

  • map storyboard + interactions to the floor plan(see how it fits)
  • gestures/sensors, moving through space to trigger light, sound, smell
  • artist vs. my own work(needs to be a balance)
  • focus on 2–3 different ways to incorporate interactive technology
  • moving changes lighting/color of pieces

Ideas for Revision:

1- move QR code to the end of the exhibit

2- incorporate gestures into the interactions

3- consider the amount of space

4- keep people off their phones and in the right headspace

5- add biomimicry and history into process info

6- consider new different things as a physical takeaway

Hybrid spaces reflection: What other types of environments are becoming hybrid? Give at least one specific example and note whether or not you think the hybridization of the environment improves the user experience

  • to-go restaurants: Recently, a lot of food places have changed how you can order. Kiosks now began to help add to the experience both in positive and negative ways. First it helps people get their orders quickly but it also takes away the interactive part and human connection.

Parti Diagram:

Sep. 9

Crit. Notes:

  • elevator door + bathroom door(be mindful of space + add queues)
  • Tepper 3 wall VR experiences compared to headset VR
  • where does the entrance begin?
  • position of reception desk and path


  • rethink the basic geometry of blocks and bricks
  • Pittsburgh architecture tour
  • spaces to sit(3 wall experience)
  • brain coral texture with a continuous line on a complex shape
  • AR vs. VR
  • seeing yourself with the artwork compared to being inside the work
  • how can you interact with the space without physically touching it
  • face scanner-culture + nature linked to architectural styles

Interaction 1

Technical Drawing
  • motion sensor that turns on a light
  • I’ll use this interaction in the process room, so people can see touch individual modules. Sitting on the pedestal will be a 3D printed module with a light underneath. The light will get brighter when viewers get closer to the pedestal. When the user actually touches the module, a beam of light from the top will hit the 3D printed module.
  • I also might want to have some kinda of auditory experience when the viewer interacts with the piece.

Interactions ideas + sketch:

Process Images:

Next steps:

  • storyboard projection mapping/LED room in more detail
  • add finishing touches to the hardwood floors
  • create labels for the descriptions
  • make a chair for the reception desk
  • write out an introductory statement
  • figure out how to draw people in with the signs/vestibule
  • create scale models of Brian Peter’s work(3D printed?)
  • pick up supplies from art store(transparent plastic sheets)
  • add bristol board to the walls
  • figure out the auditory part of the exhibit
  • create a more detail parti diagram

Sep. 15


How is the role of an architect and an environments designer different? Be specific when talking about projects, skillsets, tools, approaches, etc.

— Thinking about the role of an architect, they generally focus more on form and math and how the whole piece fits together. Use of materials and how the technology works and fits in the space are also part of the roles of an architect. Also, installing artwork and making sure things are structurally sound are vital roles. Generally using 3D modeling software, code, and working closely with electricians are also very important aspects of an architect’s job. On the other hand, a designer focuses more on the placement of things and the interactions with the space. How do people feel within the space and what do you want them to take away from the experience. Designers generally use similar tools as architects but they also sketch and storyboard to further their ideas. Overall, the role of designers and architects are quite different but it is important for them to work together to create unique interactions and an experience for the user.

Interaction + Storyboard:

general concept

Step by Step process:

  • walk in(group of 3–5)
  • door closes(circles light up on the floor for people to stand in)
  • circular light surrounds them and scans(they see themselves on the LED wall as a colorful silhouette; copies their motion)
  • organic patterns appear on the walls(biomimicry)
  • waving arms and moving through the space changes the flow/movement of the computer generated work
  • after enough participation and movement as a group, it begins to form these solids pieces
  • module begins 3D printing at large scale on the screens around them(wireframes)
  • user gets low and starts to raise up which builds the 3D module(hands rise up as a group; screen gives directions
  • 3D module turns from wireframe to solid piece; they create an unique color as a team and watch their module turn into an entire piece
  • they can change and add to the piece with gestures, and at the end of this experience they will have their own creation in Brian’s style
  • possibly go into some of Brian’s other outdoor pieces and maybe Pittsburgh architecture with the combination of biomimicry
  • digital copy of piece sent to their phones/email
  • reflect on the process, scan QR code, and share your creation on social media

Sep. 16


  • intro: info project on the floor as you get closer to the wall(make the intro statement the most important aspect of that part of the space)
  • interview with the artist(video on wall in intro area maybe instead of having a piece of artwork)
  • think of children’s art museum-puppet room — gestural interactions
  • person shows up on LED wall as they stand on the bright white circle on the ground. scans there body and copies their movements
  • storyboard interaction — in depth of the experience(actions)
  • QR code appears at reception as you retrieve your phone from reception, scan and save image of your creation
  • how do people know the interactions? how do they move their hands?
  • outside — large piece on the cut(semi circle with organic pattern will draw a big audience)
  • set up an appointment for the exhibit because we are limited on space and don’t want anyone to feel crammed in the space and not have a good experience
  • close off weird wall next to the bathroom
  • include a small desk at the reflection stage for QR code and takeaways
  • smart board on the wall above for one word or phrase reflection
  • people drop personal items/phones off at reception
  • fill out card, scan in, and it shows up on the screen

Next Steps:

  • finish 3D model
  • work on storyboard
  • complete elevations(with labels)
  • plan presentation

Layouts + Elevations:

Script + Presentation:

Slide 1:

Good morning!

For my museum exhibit, I chose Brian Peter’s work.

Slide 2:

As a spatial artist, designer, and educator, Brian creates these 3D printed ceramic modules to build both wall-mounted and standing sculptures. His work really resonated with me and after doing more research, I wanted to find the best way to share his work through a combination of his own pieces and interactive design. Some of the main components that influenced his work include: architecture, biomimicry, pattern, light, and shadow. There’s also beauty in imperfection that is embodied in his work. Working with both machine-made and human-made tools to create his pieces, everything he makes is unique. With this combination of digital coding, custom-built technology, and natural clay these 3D modules come to life and create a meaningful experience for the viewer.

Slide 3:

After figuring out the layout of the Miller ICA, I wanted to create a space for the audience to flow through and encourage movement. Sticking with more of an open floor plan, I broke the exhibit into three main rooms. As you come into the exhibit you’ll find reception and a brief introduction about the artist and his work. Moving into the next room there are some of Brian’s pieces, info on Pittsburgh architecture, biomimicry within design, and the artist’s process. In the main interaction room you experience organic pattern and movement and are able to create your own piece of artwork. Finally you are invited to reflect and share your experience.

Slide 4:

To draw people into the space, I would include one of his larger sculptures on the cut and a poster for the exhibit. Walking in, music will begin to play to encourage conversation and make visitors feel more comfortable within the space. As they reach reception, they have the option to drop off personal items and phones to stay immersed in the experience. As you get closer to the first wall-mounted piece, an artist statement is projected on the floor. The purpose of this was so the introduction and the sculpture don’t compete with one another.

Slide 5:

The next room, they will learn about Pittsburgh architecture, biomimicry, and process. Each pedestal has a singular module at different stages of his process. As someone gets closer to the module, the light underneath gets brighter. Also, moving your hand over the module changes the lighting on the adjacent wall-mounted sculpture and creates interesting shadows and patterns. Visitors are invited to touch the modules to feel the texture and to get a better idea of how they were created. On the opposite wall, there is a screen that plays a short video from the artist. As they wait for the interactive room, they are able to learn more about the process and get to see some of his other work.

Slide 6:

For the main interaction, I wanted to create a group activity for 1- 4 people. Although if you are not with a group, it can still be done individually. There’s going to be instrumental piano music playing in the background. All the walls have floor to ceiling LED screens and a reflective floor so that it’s a totally immersive experience. Each person stands on one of the circles and faces the screens. As they warm up to the movement and gestures, their own silhouette appears on the screen. Moving around the space and through these gestures, they are able to change the flow of the organic patterns on the walls. As a group, they use movement to create their own digital module, pick color schemes, and even create their own sculpture.

Slide 7:

As the interaction ends, they exit the interactive room and head back to reception. After picking up their personal items, they can scan a QR code and get a digital copy of the work they created. Finally visitors are invited to reflect on their experience by writing a word or phrase on the board and then sharing it with others.

Slide 8:

Overall, the message I want people to take away from this experience is to get out of your comfort zone and embrace your creative side. Brian Peters is not interested in perfection through machine-made tools, but rather enjoying the process by hand. Learning more about your surroundings and focusing on personal growth allows you to embrace what makes you unique. And also, being also to share this experience with others helps create deeper connections and hopefully encourages you to create without the final outcome in mind.

Slide 9:

Thank you!

Logo Design:

I used Brian Peter’s logo with the word perfection added to it. I made it a little skewed to show how he does not want perfection through machine-made tools but rather using hand-made tools and focusing on the process.

Physical Model:


At the end of the project, I had a little better understanding of environmental and interactive design. Considering how people will feel and think within the space is so important. What motivates you? What distracts you? What keeps you engaged? All these things are important to consider while designing for the human experience. Thinking about what motivates me, I’ve found that finding what peaks my curiosity helps keep me engaged. If I’m interested in the subject matter, I’m more eager to explore and research that topic. Also being able to use different resources like articles, videos, and images helps me to get a better understanding and tends to keep me more engaged. Having some constraints but also allowing some creative freedom keeps me motivated to explore my interests and incorporate them into my work. Overall, I now have a better understanding of environmental and interactive design and all the factors that play into it in order to create a meaningful experience for the audience.