‘Abbott Miller: Design and Content’

Exhibition Design

An exhibition based on Abbott Miller's monograph presented at the Albin O. Kuhn Gallery of the University of Maryland.

Pentagram surveyed partner Abbott Miller's work in the exhibition Abbott Miller: Design and Content at the Albin O. Kuhn Gallery at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The show was based on Miller's recently published monograph, Abbott Miller: Design and Content (Princeton Architectural Press, 2014), and highlighted his groundbreaking projects for clients and collaborators including the Guggenheim, Harley-Davidson, Monotype, Vitra, Knoll, Formica, 2wice and numerous cultural organizations.

The exhibition encompassed Miller’s designs for identities, environments, books, magazines, products and digital media, including projects like patterns for Knoll and Formica, and iPad apps for 2wice. To create continuity among the wide-ranging works, the designers developed a display strategy that turned them into repeating graphic patterns. 

Different areas of the gallery were loosely organized according to discipline, with projects represented in a series of vertical banners. The lines suggested the way in which reproduction defines design. Pages from books and screens from apps appeared in sequence, creating a cinematic sense of motion and transition, as well as a playful “slot machine” aesthetic. The banners appeared in varying widths of digital output on canvas, while wallcoverings for Knoll wrapped the gallery columns.

Books and publications were displayed in vitrines, and books written and/or designed by Miller were placed on tables where visitors can sit and read. A series of short phrases from Miller's new monograph were threaded throughout the exhibition. The brief, Twitter-friendly sayings—“a book is a movie you hold in your hands,” “identity links pixels and bricks,” and “the only way to do it is to do it” (a quote attributed to Merce Cunningham)—were designed to inspire students and tie the exhibition into the educational environment.

New York
Abbott Miller
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