D Museum (Seoul)

Seoul, South Korea. The temporary exhibition "Youth" describes itself as a "ground breaking exploration of the freedom, rebellion, innocence and passion of youth culture" with a selection of photographs, video and graphic works. It is curated into 2 areas—"Raw Energy" and "Optimism".

Some of the content may be quite powerful. Unfortunately the exhibition design distracts to the point that visitors can't focus on it. The exhibition design has no clear intention or restraint. In this case that means too many different design strategies (chain link fencing, about five structural vocabularies, floor graphics, dark and neon lighting, sound, etc). The design intention feels gratuitous and it's presence adds noise to the experience, instead of enhancing it, with respect.


Obviously the goal is to convey the raw and optimistic, but less would be so much more. One or two strategies alone would've been expressive enough, with respect to the content. For instance, the projection of large video onto plywood, like this:

Or the energetic angled "stance" of supports like this:

Or the use of the floor like this:

The majority of visitors are more interested in taking selfies in the exhibition than reflecting on the content of the exhibition. This could be seen as another indication of the design's failure, evidence that the visitors are not interacting directly with the content, perhaps because the exhibition design sensationalizes it. Or it could be seen as a missed design opportunity to support and engage visitors who want to reflect on themselves within the exhibition.