Pentagram Creates Closed Worlds

Closed Worlds exhibit by Natasha Jen/Pentagram

Pentagram (New York) Partner Natasha Jenand her team invite visitors to step into their own “egospheres” in Closed Worlds, an exhibition at the Storefront for Art and Architecture that explores closed systems and features its own custom typeface.

The exhibit presents 41 living prototypes for closed systems--such as outer space capsules, submarines and office buildings-- defined as self-sustaining physical environments set apart from their surroundings and using their own matter and energy to function. The exhibition design for Closed Worlds is a closed system in itself, complete with its own custom typeface, display methodology and organizational structure.

Jen and her designers worked in close collaboration with the exhibition curator, Lydia Kallipoliti, on the design of the show. They were challenged to create an engaging context that would draw visitors into the idea of closed systems and at the same time organize the volumes of data and information. The subject is timely; contemporary discussions about global warming, recycling, sustainability and net-zero energy building all tie into the study and analysis of ecologically regenerative systems.

The exhibition presents each prototype as its own mini-world: Each of the 41 projects is displayed within a cylinder suspended from the ceiling, and visitors are invited to step inside as if inhabiting an “egosphere.” The interiors of the cylinders summarize the prototype and analysis in the form of net-zero diagrams that illustrate the ecological footprint and feedback drawings that visualize performance and energy flow. Beneath each cylinder is a corresponding number, used as a notational tool to locate the project within a timeline on the gallery wall.

The team designed a custom font, CLOSED, that visually echoes the confined, self-sustaining physical environments in the show.

The installation was selected as the winning project in the Closed Worlds Design Competition hosted by Storefront in November 2015. For more information and photos, see the Pentagram blog.



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