This installation was created in four months with $87,000, which included all research, design, fabrication, and installation. Both the design and the fabrication of the exhibit reflect the client's modest purpose. Although the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is not well understood in this country, millions around the world know the United States only from the bold shield emblazoned on a life-saving relief shipment tumbling from a truck.
When the original Library of Congress was burned by the British in 1812, Jefferson sold his personal library of about 6,500 individual volumes to the government to replace it. This became the seed of the huge collections at the Library today. The challenge of this project was to find a means to display this enormous number of books in a powerful and relevant way.
The challenge was to make a compelling exhibit – fifty of the best books and fifty of the best covers – appealing to AIGA members who had seen many of these exhibits in the past.
Chermayeff & Geismar chose a very simple color palette – white, black, gray, and orange – and tried to make single large design moves using as much space as possible. The books themselves do the communicating; visitors can pick up each item on display and there are plenty of well-designed captions to answer questions.