We’re putting a playful twist on our Sketchbook Interviews series, which explores the sketchbooks found on desks all around the firm, to look at a recent museum installation designed by one of our associates.
Less than a mile from our Seattle office, ZGF designer Ashley Dimick recently debuted her first design installation at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. A labor of love with her husband Connor, an architect at another Seattle firm, the installation seeks to visually express the diversity of the Chinatown International District community.
Stemming from an interactive exhibit her husband designed previously, a colleague (who is also part of Design in Public, a strategic initiative of AIA Seattle) reached out to see if the couple would create an interactive component for the museum’s year-long exhibit. They jumped at the opportunity to design together. Now their work is front and center at “Life Wide Angle/Close Up,” a multimedia photography-based exhibit intended to spark conversation about what goes into making healthy and sustainable communities.
Ashley gave us an inside look at their creative process and how the installation turned out.
An early rendering and shop drawings show their vision for the installation, named “Faces and Places.” Like the installation, the International District community is shaped by many individuals, each with their own unique story. Everyone is invited to share their story through postcards and become part of the installation. The form grows and evolves as more stories are added.
The base of the installation follows the street grid of the neighborhood, acting as an anchor while the boundaries of the postcards are limitless and undefined.
Visitors are prompted to draw a guided self-portrait and share their favorite place in the International District and a special memory. Ashley and the museum curator carefully considered the prompt in order to get responses that would capture the diverse cultural backgrounds of people in the community.
Ashley and her husband celebrate the exhibit opening with a small reception for family and friends. Some of the artists spoke about how the International District has changed over time and the importance of documenting the past and present.
The response to the exhibit has been very positive so far. Every day the museum takes down the postcards to make room for more the next day. Visually, the contrasting colors and movement of the postcards create a light, airy effect that complements the rest of the exhibit.
With this being her first installation, Ashley didn’t know what to expect. She wanted visitors to be able to participate or simply observe—but everyone can experience it. She’s proud of the end result. She would also like to thank Adrian for the opportunity and mentorship throughout the process.
If you’re in the Seattle area, the exhibit is open until April 2020.