Designed in California

Finalist 2020

Designed in California showcased the evolution of human-centered and sociologically conscious design and its relationship to California. Objects were presented in reverse chronological order, highlighting thematic clusters along the way. The works on view varied dramatically in scale (think UP wrist band health monitor to The North Face tent), demanding a display solution that allowed each object to be equally accessible visually and also protected the pieces.

One of the recurring themes of the exhibition was the idea of failing forward. We took inspiration from the original innovators in the garages of Silicon Valley—known for designing and hacking their own space to fit their particular needs. Showing the warmth and “work in progress” nature of space enhanced the theme of relentless experimentation. The entire gallery was faced in raw maple wood, designed with two- levels of exhibition furniture. By creating two shelf heights, we doubled the amount of display space and could more easily show relationships and contrasts between the works. The title typography juxtaposed 1960s letterforms seen at the end of the exhibition with a color that feels contemporary.

Design Firms: 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Project Area: 

3,150 sq ft

Open Date: 

January 2020

Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Don Ross, Todd Tankersley

Design Team: 

Meghan Berckes (art director), Sarah Choi (exhibition design coordinator), Carrie Taffel (design project coordinator), Bosco Hernández (design director), Jess Kreglow (senior museum preparator)


Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher (Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design), Robert Kett (curatorial assistant, architecture and design)


Jonathan Hirabayashi Design (vinyl labels), Cliff Digital (ink transfer labels), Mike Williams Drywall (drywall and construction), Jon Haller (painting), Decker Electric (electrical)

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