2012 Melbourne Design Awards

Key Dates

Image Credit : Photos 1-9: Mark Ashkanasy


Project Overview

An exhibition design for ACMI's "Star Voyager - Exploring Space on Screen"  sets the stage for a curated show that explores the history and future of space exploration, as experienced through the moving image.  Bringing scientific and archival footage together with feature films and moving image artworks, the exhibition blurs the distinction between fact and fiction to explore how the creative imagination and desire for discovery have inspired artists and scientists alike. 

Project Commissioner

Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)

Project Creator

Minifie van Schaik Architects


Paul Minifie
Jan van Schaik
Jessica In

Project Brief

ACMI came to us looking for a design that would satisfy a brief with both experiential and practical requirements.  The brief called for a unique interpretation of the theme of space, to provide visitors with a unified experience as they move through the gallery.  It was important to reference real and imagined journeys into outerspace and other worlds, and for the design to create a sense of the unexpected in the way the sequence of spaces and the exhibits are presented to the visitor.   The exhibition's spatial schema needed to relay the complex curatorial narrative in the arrangement of works.

Project Need

The exhibition design redefines the way that film exhibits are presented in a gallery setting.   The path of travel through the exhibition is carefully designed to encourage visitors to encounter films alongside objects - both real space objects and documentary footage, alongside cinematic film and paraphernalia.  The angled walls of an abstracted toroid guide visitors through projection rooms, film monitors and objects are discovered when negotiating the 'asteroid belt' of Sputnik inspired display cases.  Films are presented within walls of gold mylar, and a portal corridor with an accelerated perspective focuses on the space suit display.  There were cinematic inspirations for many of the set-piece design elements in 'Star Voyager' including the display of spacesuits, the location of the terrarium, general material choices and lighting schema.  The asteroidal display cases were custom designed and built to accommodate both screens and artefacts.  

Design Challenge

There were many design challenges that we had to consider when designing this exhibition.  These included budget limitations, technical moving media exhibition requirements, restricted installation time-frames and strict preservation requirements for the display of certain exhibits.   


The design and build incorporated reusing materials extensively from previous shows, particular the bondor wall panels.  Display cases and furniture from previous shows was also incorporated into the design of the displays wherever possible to reduce using new materials.  Highly efficient LED lighting was incorporated in many displays.

This award recognises a temporary building or interior. Consideration give to furnishings, fixtures, stands, signage and traffic flow. 

Judging Note : Judging for this category will be finalised on Monday 27th August and Finalists will be announced on Tuesday 28th August.

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