Another Future

Reopened to the public after 20 years, the historic Arts + Industries Building in Washington DC presents an impressive exhibition, FUTURES by Smithsonian, for the occasion of the institute’s 175th anniversary. Immersed in a spectacular installation created by Rockwell Group

FUTURES, Smithsonian Arts+Industries Building. Ph © Courtesy of Ron Blunt
FUTURES, Smithsonian Arts+Industries Building. Ph © Courtesy of Ron Blunt

First opened in 1881 as the National Museum of the United States and modeled on the concept of the majestic pavilions of the Universal Exposition, the AIB in Washington DC returns to its original splendor with a temporary opening. Its impressive halls host the exhibition FUTURES organized by the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum complex for education and research. In an exclusive project by David Rockwell and his award-winning team at Rockwell Group, the show offers a voyage through dreams and imagination, to discover different possible futures.

FUTURES, Smithsonian Arts+Industries Building. Ph © Courtesy of Ron Blunt
FUTURES, Smithsonian Arts+Industries Building. Ph © Courtesy of Ron Blunt

From November 2021 to July 2022, the displays inside the Arts + Industries Building unfold in a harmonious interior design, wrapped in experiential graphics and an interactive digital ecosystem created by The LAB –  the design innovation laboratory of Rockwell Group.
“In a world that feels perpetually tumultuous, there is power in imagining the future we want, not the future we fear,” says Rachel Goslins, director of the Arts + Industries Building. – For 175 years, the Smithsonian has been helping people better understand who we are, where we have been and where we want to go. With ‘Futures,’ we want to invite all visitors to discover, debate and delight in the many possibilities for our shared future.”

FUTURES, Smithsonian Arts+Industries Building. Ph © Courtesy of Brian Choy
FUTURES, Smithsonian Arts+Industries Building. Ph © Courtesy of Brian Choy

Set up with four situations – Past Futures, Futures that Work, Futures that Unite and Futures that Inspire – the exhibition develops through “cabinets of curiosities” to be explored, featuring flexible, demountable and sustainable pavilions made with unconventional materials like solar cells, resins, recycled and recyclable metals. Each “domain” contains various contents, generating sensations of wonder in the midst of playful, unexpected architectural expressions.

An experiential voyage that starts with “Past Futures,” amidst objects from the fine historical collection of the Smithsonian; “Futures that Work,” focusing on sustainability, efficiency and intentionality; then “Futures that Inspire,” where a playful spirit of adventure takes over to trigger a new idea of the future.

FUTURES, Smithsonian Arts+Industries Building. Ph © Courtesy of Brian Choy
FUTURES, Smithsonian Arts+Industries Building. Ph © Courtesy of Brian Choy

The narrative is paced by objects, including robots, recreational devices, skateboard prototypes, displays made with modular cubes, walls covered with recycled film posters. Finally, “Futures that Unite” explores concepts of inclusion, cooperation and connection through interactive displays, inside a set-up whose shape suggests ritual gathering places. With the idea of collectively shaping what’s to come…

 

FUTURES
Smithsonian’s Arts + Industries Building
900 Jefferson Drive, SW – Washington DC
November 2021 – July 2022

www.aib.si.edu/