Infestation Design – Cape Town Studio

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Designing exhibitions: making history come alive

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Designing exhibitions: making history come alive

The complexity

Over the last 2 years we’ve delivered a series of striking displays for four very different exhibition projects. We were privileged to work with Urban Brew Studios, and the University of Fort Hare, in developing exhibition panels for a permanent exhibition commemorating the university’s centenary. Archival Platform commissioned us, on behalf of the South African Heritage Resources Agency, to develop an exhibition displayed at the West Coast Fossil Park. The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Croatia commisioned us to tell the history of the Tulip flower, in a display outside their embassy building in Zagreb, Croatia. And, more recently, we collaborated with innovative exhibition designers, Formula-D, to design a exhibition on the history of the Old Granary Building in Cape Town.


The Old Granary Building, Cape Town, 2017.

In 2012, the City of Cape Town committed to the restoration of The Old Granary Building as one of Cape Town’s oldest and most significant buildings. The vision for the building was to restore it externally, with sensitive internal rehabilitation, for use by the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation as offices, a peace centre, an archive and a museum. An important part of the restoration was the installation of an exhibition to capture the history of the building, its various uses and functions, as well as to describe the restoration process and the materiality of the building. For more than 150 years the building served many functions and in this exhibition we explore these epochs. Each epoch was marked by a big gold letter.

They included:
1. Custom House
2. Town Granary
3. Magistrate Court
4. House of Correction
5. Public Works Department


Tulip Exhibition, Zagreb, Croatia, 2017.

Working with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Croatia, we were able to tell the history of the Tulip flower in a display outside their embassy building in Zagreb, Croatia.


The exhibition was displayed in Croatian and English. Like any communication, its tone and vocabulary had to be appropriate for the audience. The tulip exhibition was displayed on street-side fence railings outside the embassy. The layout and imagery should draw people into the subject matter. This approach helped to make the content much more accessible. Choosing the right fonts and imagery was key. Even if people don’t read every word, each image should tell a story.

The exhibition was opened on King's Day 2017.

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West Coast Fossil Park, Langebaan, Western Cape, 2017.

We were tasked to create 5 different murals for the West Coast Fossil Park. The murals measured at roughly 5m x 4m and depicted 5 different scenarios from approximately 3 million years ago. The scientific subject matter of the fossil exhibition could be mind-boggling to young minds but presenting it in a visually arresting way, it was possible to bring the topic to life in visuals that supported the exhibition content. Working with an anthropologist and a group of scientists, every scene was carefully curated and made to be scientifically accurate.

The 5 murals include:
8 AM Sunrise scene
13 PM Midday scene
16 PM Late afternoon scene
19 PM Sunset scene
00AM Nocturnal scene


To give a sense of scale, the murals size measures at 5m x 4m.


The University Of Fort Hare, Centenary, 2017.

The exhibition at the University of Fort Hare commemorated the centenary of an institution that has formed the centerpoint for social and political revolution in South Africa and across Africa. The permanent displays tell the story of Fort Hare’s place in global socio-political progress, celebrating its alumni and influential past students including Nelson Mandela, Robert Sobukwe, Seretse Kama and Robert Mugabe.

The exhibition was split into 3 geographic areas

Area 1 - De Beers Gallery. Fort Hare Campus. Permanent exhibition filling up 5 rooms.
Area 2 - Fort Hare Campus. In-situ panels across campus and the surrounding town of Alice.
Area 3 - Ditigal exhibition that lives online.


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