This Fresh From The Field features the National Library’s ‘Bird Fancy’ exhibition design by Fortyfive Design
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The brief for the National Library’s ‘Bird Fancy’ as with all good briefs was hatched over a sticky bun and a coffee. The exhibition was the idea of Peter Ireland, the manpower behind many of the National Library’s exhibitions. The title ‘Bird Fancy’ referencing both the keeping of birds and the exotic nature of the proposed exhibition selection. Originally planned for the Turnbull Gallery in the Alexander Turnbull Library, the plan was to shift it to the National Library’s smaller gallery, the Te Puna Foundation Gallery. The brief loosely started with work of three 18th and 19th Century bird artists, some quirky-as black and white photos of people with their birds, some dating all the way back to the 1860s, and a smattering of other random bird fancy material and ephemera. How to make all this vaguely related content sit happily together on a super tight budget was at the heart of the brief.
The pieces of the puzzle were played with, some deleted, some added until the final version of Bird Fancy was created. The combination of what to put in and leave out and how to represent the content most effectively within a tight budget was central to our role as designers. The budget constraints required creative use of materials such as recycling existing frames, printing mats instead of cutting them and finding simple alternatives to bespoke framing.