C.M.U. is a temporary exhibition design for the Visual Arts Center in Austin, TX. The exhibit displays 18th and 19th century music boxes housed in a modular display system. Using Charlotte Perriand’s “Biblioteque a Plots” as a precedent study, I played off her use of contrasting materials and cantilevers in my two-part system. The main system functions as both the primary display system and the staircase, in addition to defining the circulation and viewing areas. Interlocking concrete modules cantilever off each other, using the gallery walls as the supporting structure. Niches carved into the modules display the music box collection. Quiet, contemplative study of the collection is possible in the hidden alcove, underneath the arching modules on the south side of the gallery while an 18th C. salon-style display is viewable along the staircase.
The secondary system consists of bronze boxes inset in the carved niches. With recessed lighting reflecting off the soft bronze surface, the music boxes appear to glow from within.