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Alin Tocmacov will join us August 23-24 for the 2018 Exhibition & Experience Design Eventin Washington, D.C. where he will present a session with Jake Barton of Local Projects entitled “Unlimited Possibilities: Innovating with Best Practices for Digital Experiences.”
Alin Tocmacov is an associate partner at C&G Partners,where he leads multidisciplinary creative teams in the design of exhibits and experiences for cultural and commercial clients in Europe, the Middle East, Canada and the United States.
We chatted with Alin about his work at C&G Partners, how he got started in exhibition and experience design, his anticipations for the 2018 SEGD E&E event and his take on the future of exhibits.
What is your specific role at C&G Partners?
I am an associate partner who leads experience and exhibition design at C&G Partners, a multi-specialty design studio located at Union Square in the heart of New York City.
What has been your favorite C&G Partners project you've worked on?
I love all of our projects; they are different sizes and types and are unique, creative endeavors. I would like to highlight one project that is smaller scale, but has a big impact: #BusRootsVRVparticularly reflects the studio mission—design for culture—as well as storytelling innovation. It is a nomadic, experimental 'virtual reality vehicle' that inspires visitors to imagine new sustainable versions of the future through virtual and augmented reality elements incorporated in a repurposed food truck with a hydroponic garden on its roof. We were thrilled when artist and curator Marco Antonio Castro Cosio, the former MediaLab manager at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, asked us to collaborate as it combines visitor engagement through the use of new technologies with multi-sensorial physical experiences.
What drew you into the exhibitions/museum world?
I am originally from Switzerland, which is itself a graphic design institution. After I received my Masters in Architecture, the first thing I did was to open a graphic design studio. I didn’t know anything about graphic design back then but I was, and still am, fascinated by the visual power of images, analog or digital, and the intersection between the virtual and the physical. This multidisciplinary approach naturally drew me to exhibition design.
What do you think the future of technology in exhibits is?
Technology is a powerful tool for storytelling. In the future, I’d like to see whole environments 3D printed, seamless screens not limited to any size or shape and exhibits in white boxes (the preference for black boxes in my opinion comes from our technological limitations). The future of technology in exhibits might be more immersive, more engaging, more omnipresent—and more invisible as it will be more seamlessly integrated.
The real revolution however, is about how technology changes the way we interact with each other and perceive our surroundings. Social platforms are one representation of this revolution; can anyone predict what the next Instagram will be and how it will transform our social landscape and affect expectations in experience design? Hint: we will explore some ideas at our SEGD session!
How you do "future-proof" an exhibit when technology changes so quickly?
We never approach the design of an exhibit by inquiring about the latest technology, but by asking what experience we want to create. Technology is a tool, and the number of pixels should not limit the experience.
We use the technology available at the time that is the best fit for the project. We “future-proof” the experience itself through timeless design and meaningful content that remains relevant for years to come.
What makes a successful digitally-integrated exhibit?
I believe in the “phygital,” the intersection between physical and digital, when digital components are seamlessly integrated with the physical design to create one enhanced experience.
Success can take the shape of reactions like, “Wow, how did they do that?” to visitors not even noticing the technology because it is so intuitive; they just engage with the experience.
What are some recent examples of exhibitions you find inspirational?
Many of my inspirations come from environmental art. In Washington D.C., the Renwick Galleryhosts some very inspiring shows and the Artechousefeatures provoking immersive digital installations. The current exhibition at the Rubin Museumin New York is mesmerizing; the exhibition integrates the museum’s collection with large-scale, interactive animations by Brooklyn-based artist Chitra Ganesh, giving a new energy by contrasting and at the same time complementing the historical art and artifacts. It is a great example of thoughtful use of technology in the creation of non-traditional exhibits.
What are you most excited about at the 2018 E&E event?
Connecting with friends and peers, exchanging ideas and finding out about what other people are doing. E&E is a great place to feel the pulse of innovation with a collegial and personal vibe.
What can attendees expect to take away from your session, "Unlimited Possibilities: Innovating with Best Practices for Digital Experiences?"
We will be discussing best practices to design for the “phygital culture” and to create emotional environments and memorable experiences. We will be looking at case studies including the Museum of the Bible, and how new technologies impact our expectations in experience design and what it takes to keep up with the ever-changing digital evolution.
What will you be highlighting in the tour you're leading at the Museum of the Bible?
We will tour the Impact of the Biblefloor, which includes three different galleries designed by C&G Partners. As a multi-specialty studio, we have created all the exhibits and media experiences, as well as the Museum’s branding, wayfinding and digital signage. The tour will illustrate the many different disciplines that go into the mix of exhibit and experience design and highlight our philosophy of designing for the “phygital” culture. I am looking forward to sharing behind-the-scenes insights with the attendees.
Join Alin at the 2018 SEGD Exhibition & Experience event, August 23–24 in Washington, D.C. This is poised to be the biggest and best E&E event yet! Don't miss out—register now.