An article by CRAACE research fellow Marta Filipová, ‘The theatre of exhibitions: Czechoslovakia at the International Exhibition in Paris, 1937,’ has just been published in the Journal of Design History.
How can an exhibition designer engage the visitor to a world’s fair who has already spent hours walking around the grounds, visiting other attractions and countless national pavilions? This question drove many theoretical and practical considerations of exhibition design during the interwar period and preoccupied many designers and artists. As a very active participant in world’s fairs at this time, Czechoslovakia established an intricate system of presenting its material production and cultural prowess which included careful design of the exterior of its pavilion as well as its interior. Using the Czechoslovak pavilion at the International Exhibition of Art and Technology in Modern Life in Paris, 1937, as a case study, this article examines how Czech designers developed their own original ideas about exhibition design informed by other disciplines. It offers a reading of exhibition design in parallel with stage design and claims that the two shared many techniques, aimed at attracting audiences. It stresses, on the one hand, the affiliation between the two design areas and on the other, the original contribution of designers from Czechoslovakia to the development of exhibition design as a self-sufficient field in the interwar period.
The article is open access and can be read here.