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By Design

Oct 1, 2021 - Mar 1, 2022

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Design is all around us. Whether it takes the form of objects and spaces, images and interactions, or systems and processes, design shapes our lives in fundamental ways. But what shapes design?


A series of thematic installations drawn primarily from the architecture and design collection, By Design: Stories and Ideas Behind Objects illustrates the abundance and versatility of approaches to design. How does it come into being? Who creates it and for what purpose? How does it serve society? What trends inspire it?


The motivations behind these designs are as diverse as their creators. Unusual or newly available materials invite vigorous experimentation. The form of an object can solve problems, serve its users, and improve efficiency. Methods of production can range from handcrafted to digital fabrication. Personal, subjective, and time-bound ideas can be expressed through design. Whatever the approach, they spark a deeper understanding and appreciation of design.


By Design will be the inaugural exhibition in the Martin Building's new Amanda J. Precourt Galleries, showcasing objects from the museum's architecture and design collection. This collection encompasses one of the most preeminent modern and contemporary design collections of any comprehensive museum in the U.S., featuring a broad range of design practices, including architecture, furniture, and industrial and graphic design.


This exhibition is organized by Darrin Alfred, curator of architecture and design. The 8,000-square-feet Amanda J. Precourt Galleries were designed by OMA New York and Shohei Shigematsu, OMA partner.