Think Modern/Think Classic


GHD Partners

Practice Area


Macklowe Properties, SITQ

Project Vision

This exhibit illustrates the importance of unique design development approach paradigms in achieving revolutionary results.

Smart Cars and other iconic objects were displayed as examples of successful paradigm shifts in practice. The architectural transformation of 340 Madison, a recently redeveloped and redefined Midtown Manhattan office building, is also integrated into the exhibit.

The exhibit focuses on the twentieth century, which saw an outpouring of design innovation, and includes the Vespa, the Concorde, the Shinkansen, and the Panton chair.

A design is rarely smarter than the Smart Car, which addresses the environment with its fuel efficiency, safety with its compact Tridion steel housing, and crowding with its compressed wheelbase. Products like Smart Cars – with function and form reinvented in tandem – prove that designers who ask out-of-the-ordinary questions can arrive at out-of-the-ordinary solutions that improve the way we live.

Project Details
This exhibit simply and boldly introduces Smart Cars (cool, fuel-efficient little runabouts that have been sold in the rest of the world for several years) to the United States by linking the Smart Car to various icons of 20th century design innovation. Actual Smart Cars themselves – shown intact and 'exploded' – take center stage in the exhibit space, which is punctuated by floor-to-ceiling banners with clean, bold graphics displaying quotes about design and innovation. Full-size Smart Cars are contrasted with scale models of other products of design innovation, such as Vespa motor scooters, Concorde jetliners, and various iconographic chairs by modernist designers. A crisp, clean, visually compelling exhibit.
Juror 1
This exhibit uniformly succeeded in integrating the products displayed, the typography of the information graphics, and the display structure itself to create a wonderful sense of place that was also quite informative. Juxtaposing the Smart Car with classic chairs is all that needs to be said, allowing the viewer to complete the story. Likewise, the disassembled cars hanging in space complement the vertical quotes and allow the viewer to make connections in an almost ephemeral way.
Juror 2
Design Team

Graham Hanson (Principal in Charge), Pilar Freire, Dorothy Lin, Eileen Moore, Jonathan Posnett, Jay Telles, Elizabeth Ward, Yuji Yamazaki

Design Firm

GHD Partners


MSD Visual, Paulette Giguere (silkscreening)