The work we have done with the Adelaide Botanic Gardens on this project has been some of the most fascinating and rewarding of the life of this studio. The Museum of Economic Botany was built in the grounds of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens 130 years ago and is the last purpose built colonial museum in the world. A generous State Government Grant was made available to restore the building and its contents.
After a tendering process Kate Burns Design was chosen to join a team of devoted professionals to unveil this beautiful building and its contents. It was not to be a traditional 'restoration' as in lots of shiny brass everywhere, it was to be a respectful uncovering of the original building to allow it to shine on its own.
The MEB houses two exhibition spaces, a newly designed Khai Liew installation for temporary and traveling exhibitions and the original permanent space. The building and these spaces needed a corporate identity, and each and every item in the room required its own special descriptive label. A challenge of design and orgnisation on a grand scale. The challenge of creating informational panels and labeling systems throughout the site was one of giving the objects space while also allowing for readable text.
The aim for the entire project was to basically 'design' it as little as possible. Refining the various required items so that they impacted the space minimally. This is quite the reverse of what has been done in museums for the last 15 years, where everything is MDF and everything is moving and flashing and so big you're almost in Vegas. The aim behind this project was to be still and quiet, allow the building to speak for itself.
The Museum of Economic Botany at the Adelaide
Botanic Garden - a souvenir
Kate Burns Design was also asked to write an essay on our process and participation in the restoration. An exciting project to be involved in.
HARVEST - Inaugural Exhibition
For the opening of the newly refurbished space a book was designed to accompany the inaugural exhibition in the Khai Liew space. We wanted something simple and beautiful, much like Khai's installation. HARVEST was created by the wonderful Peter Emmett. Hand picked items formed this wonderful exhibition of works.