Blessed Be The Work – Australian Contemporary Design in Jewish
Location: Jewish Museum of Australia
Exhibition Design: Rosemary Simons
Client: Jewish Museum of Australia
Brief: To design a ‘streamlined, Australian, contemporary
(but reflecting the past), sturdy, warm, ritualistic and with
a wandering path’ exhibition within the museum’s
temporary exhibition space.
Notes: Doing justice to a collection of pieces from
the country’s best craftspeople and to do so as it tours
to a wide variety of venues was the challenge, this is how it
often self coloured exhibits, inspired a choice of exhibition materials
that were also self coloured: the silver of aluminium, the white
of linen and the gold of woodgrain. A ritualistic, burgundy background
helped set the mood.
diversity, the collection nevertheless needed to present as a ‘family’.
To help achieve this, showcases, set at heights to suit exhibits,
formed part of the layered installation ‘landscape’ which
accommodated the disparity in scale, medium and type of exhibit.
and adaptable furniture design was arranged with procession-like
formality. It could be linked like threaded beads, using poles
and lintels, to another piece of furniture.
The perspex lintels
were multi functional and supported, like the showcases, by inverted ‘U’ shaped
aluminium plinths. There were portals between exhibit groupings
and on some, linen information panels hung like back-lit ‘veils’.
Comments: “...time to congratulate you. For understanding
our brief with a quiet confidence and intelligence and interpreting
our requirements with sensitivity and accuracy....all congratulate
you for your ability to work with the committee, converting ideas
and suggestions into a design format which we all welcome and
For your truly
magnificent exhibition design which highlights the objects, respects
the tradition and celebrates the contemporary aesthetic and the
Australian content. The objects are the stars of the show, but
they shine because of the attention you have given to the display
cases, graphics and colour scheme and traffic flow. For your superb
documentation........ For bringing the exhibition in on budget
and on time.......For managing the project so that the exhibition
was assembled without a hitch....And especially for your professionalism
and reliability and integrity......” (Luba Bilu, Exhibition
Coordinator, ‘Blessed Be The Work’ Jewish Museum of
Curator: Luba Bilu
Fabricator: Ian Grenda
Graphic Designer: Ian Robertson
Photographer: Dieu Tan