Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, the arts division of the philanthropic organization Fundación Cisneros, recently called upon the digital and design pros at Bluecadet to add an extra dimension of interactivity to a new exhibit at Spain’s National Museum of 20th century art, the Madrid-based Reina Sofía. Bluecadet did more than rise to the challenge, teaming up with museum curators early in the planning process to create a fully integrated experience that could engage museum guests before, during, and after their visit.
The result, La Invención Concreta: Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, is a stunning and immersive new exhibit of Latin American geometric abstraction that includes a sophisticated website, an iPad app, and a detailed, floor-to-ceiling concept map in the exhibition itself, all courtesy of Bluecadet. The digital studio also helped to craft the overall look and feel of La Invención Concreta, designing a custom style guide and elegant title treatments for the exhibit in both physical and digital space.
“The wonderful thing about this project is that we were brought in before any of the graphic design or identity was set for the exhibition, so we were able to create everything as one completely integrated product,” noted Bluecadet Design Director Troy LaChance. “Our intention was not to recreate the gallery experience in a digital format, or even to create something new. Rather, we focused on representing the artist’s intentions and weaving the museum and digital elements into one experience.”
This focus is evident in the deft translation of the studio’s overall aesthetic vision across multiple media. The concept map – which uses 900 square feet of wall space to lay out the dense web of artists, groups, movements, and concepts that underlie the exhibition – seamlessly integrates with iPads made available by the museum. The same graphic style that characterizes this map is deployed across web, iPad and throughout the physical exhibition space, echoing Bluecadet’s warmly sophisticated color palette and geometrically-inspired type treatments in each realm of experience.
This carefully considered and integrated design ethic also extends to the technical features of the La Invención Concreta website and iPad app. Rather than merely display the exhibit’s artwork with attendant facts and figures, Bluecadet created a responsive and immersive digital experience to engage the user both in and out of the museum space. Users gearing up for the exhibit with a visit to the website can learn more about geometric abstraction and the concepts behind it. During the visit, Bluecadet’s title work, digital and physical concept maps, and mobile audio tours combine to guide the user through the space. After a visit, interactive elements allow users to create their own custom-curated tours, to share their favorite pieces through a variety of social media channels, and to take informal quizzes that pose insightful, qualitative questions about the artwork.
Key to the project’s success was the close collaboration between Bluecadet, the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, and the Museo Reina Sofía. Using Basecamp to share files, calendars, and ideas across different countries, they worked tirelessly to develop concepts, bridging cultural and language barriers. Bluecadet even diligently built their own library on geometric abstraction at their offices, intimately familiarizing themselves with the art and cultural context in order to help them shape a better show.
“To create a truly integrated pre-, in-, and post-visit experience, we needed to be involved at the ground floor,” explained Creative Director Josh Goldblum. “By being involved in the project before any of the graphic design, interpretive signage, or digital experiences were created, we were able to design all of these elements as one complete experience. It also allowed us to identify other areas where we could contribute beyond the original scope and made for a more comprehensive final product.”
Client: Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Exhibition Title: La Invención Concreta
Digital Agency: Bluecadet
Creative Director: Josh Goldblum
Design Director: Troy LaChance
Producer: Aaron Miller
Concept Map, Title Treatment, and Style Guide Designer: Aaron Richardson
Website Designers: Putra Roeung & Troy LaChance
iPad Designers: Kim Quinn, Troy LaChance, & Theresa Decker
Lead Website Developer: Steve Hurwitz
Front End Website Developer: Kathryn Stracquatanio
iPad Developers: Paul Rudolph & Jason Marziani
Design & Production Assistants: Alexandra Lash & Dana Mulranen
Bluecadet’s recent work includes the Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex Skeleton Puzzle, an immersive 3D experience created for Chicago’s Field Museum. In spring of 2012, Bluecadet teamed with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology to create “Hunal Burial,” a multi-touch interactive exploration of Ancient Mayan tombs for the museum’s Maya 2012: Lords of Time exhibition. Bluecadet also created “Starved for Attention,” an Emmy-nominated website redesign and social media campaign for VII Photo and Doctors without Borders, and developed the ‘Portraits’ iPad app and Website for famed National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry.
Bluecadet claimed dozens of digital and interactive awards in 2012, including several Gold prizes at the District and Philadelphia Addy Awards, ‘Site of the Day’ honors from Communication Arts, CSS Winner and The FWA, and Best in Show at both the Webvisionary and Horizon Interactive Awards.
Bluecadet is an interactive studio specializing in multimedia experiences that excite, engage and inspire. We build dynamic interactive installations, applications, and websites for museums, universities, nonprofits, and corporations. We are storytellers for a digital age.
Our past experience includes interactives developed for the J. Paul Getty Museum, MoMA, the Smithsonian Institute, the Field Museum, and the Dallas Museum of Art. The success of our projects can be found in our thoughtful user interfaces, beautiful designs, and detail-oriented programming.
Our work has received numerous awards including an Emmy, multiple Webbys, and several MUSE awards.