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People value impactful narratives that are physically embodied, as their tangible presence serves as a powerful reminder of the rich history that surrounds us and its enduring impact.

Marking 85 years of shaping the field and influencing the way people think about design, the IIT Institute of Design has achieved a milestone. As people reflect on the rich history of the Institute, it's clear that people value the narratives of the rich history of the school and the vital role it has in shaping the history of design itself.

To represent history as a tangible experience to inspire, the Institute of Design wanted to create an experience that honors ID's history and innovation spirit. The proposed solution used key stories from ID's archives to create an evolving exhibition at the Institute, arranging the whole narrative as four different eras, Experimentation, Systems, Human centered-design, [Era in progress].

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The project started with a week-long field study where we visited five museums to understand how visitors experience exhibitions and to identify any difficulties they have with navigating through the narrative. This combination of field research and desk research helped us to determine our target audience and to establish design guidelines that would guide the entire experience.

  1. Visitors can easily navigate, not be overwhelmed, and understand the exhibition.

  2. Visitors experience 3 dimensional moments of delight.

  3. Museum structure are minimal, many are standardized.

  4. Use material or color contrast between structure and interior architecture.

  5. Complimentary to interior architecture of Kaplan.

  6. Instill the spirit and history of ID as purposeful design not fashion.

  7. Create a succinct story versus a large collection of artifacts.

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Sketching and ideation phase at action lab along with mockup prototyping.

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"How might we celebrate the diversity and progression of ID by showcasing its rich history and innovative spirit in a meaningful and interactive way?"


 From a simple bar of soap to innovative solutions for food, energy, and manufacturing, from camping shelters to apps for urban adventurers, We created an exhibition experience that highlighted the significance of design and the Institute of Design through 85 captivating stories and the crucial role that design plays in enhancing everyday life.


The exhibition is represented as a flow of time with four different wooden structures representing four different eras, Experimentation, Systems, Human - centered design and the Era in progress.  The exhibition includes physical and digital interactions. This experience is built to be an evolving exhibition which in essence will narrate the future of the Institute.



The opening night of the exhibition was a tremendous success, with attendees raving about the amazing conversation that took place. The positive word of mouth led to a significant influx of visitors during the preview weekend, with over 800 individuals attending the exhibition in just a few days. The high visitorship is a testament to the quality of the exhibition and the appeal of its contents to a wide range of audiences. It is a remarkable achievement and a clear indication of the impact this exhibition is likely to have on the public.

This is an evolving exhibition with the next iteration coming in spring 2023.


It’s an impressive body of work, and it feels so good to see it all laid bare on gorgeous tables. I’m also grateful for all of your collaboration over the previous months. This was truly a monumental undertaking, and many other groups would have faltered at the task. You all shined, and everyone’s contributions are evident.

- Tanner Woodford, Founder and  Executive Director, Design Museum of Chicago


01.  First Idea is never the best one.

It is a muscle memory to go into a solution once I get a brief, It always feels like the best one. In this project, the idea of making the exhibition experience a flow of time came in after 2 weeks of sketching and ideation. It re-established the concept of never getting married to your ideas. 

02.  Having a mentor to support you is invaluable.

The project coordinator for this exhibition was my professor, and working closely with him made me realize that, experience always matters. As he is a master of the craft, having the humility to learn from such a mentor was invaluable. 

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