The venue is the Museum of Design Atlanta; the source is its new exhibition, “Hidden Heroes: The Genius of Everyday Things.”
Open through May 11, the traveling showcase — developed by the Vitra Design Museum in Germany — features eclectic galleries of exhibits that pay homage to the many objects responsible for making our daily lives more convenient.
Given the Midtown museum’s history, it’s little wonder why the exhibit is now right at home.
“When we look for an exhibition we think about our mission, which is to spotlight design as being at the intersection of creativity and functionality,” museum Executive Director Laura Flusche said. “So, we look for design processes that have been used to make something in a creative way that’s functional and makes our life better.
“We also think about our vision, … the idea that design has the potential to make the world a better place, whether that’s because our paper clips work or because we can design ways to get clean water to people who don’t have it.”
The exhibit mines the everyday item — often taken for granted — for the underlying originality and innovation behind its invention. Media accentuates each artistically arranged, open-boxed exhibit. Video and text converge to inform spectators about how the pencil democratized the writing process from its inception in the 16th century to the tin can’s ties to Napoleon Bonaparte.
The public, afforded the opportunity to look back, will also be privy to a look forward, in a way. The museum, in partnership with manufacturer MakerBot, is offering 3D desktop printer classes to children and adults over the course of the exhibition’s run.
Patrons will be able to try their hand at designing a three-dimensional object and have it printed out.
“The purpose is to show new emerging technology that, at this point, a lot of people know exist … but they don’t know the details, they’ve never seen one, watched it run or seen what it can do,” said Sam Cone, a museum gallery employee. “So this is a good way to increase the exposure and let people know really what’s coming and what they can do for a relatively low cost.”
A 3D desktop printer costs about $2,000, roughly the same as a high-end laptop.
For Flusche, the parallels between the exhibit’s concept and the new classes are unmistakable.
“The exhibition is about how objects we’re really familiar with — like paper clips and pencils we’ve been using a long time, how those were engineered and designed and why they work so well, … whereas 3D printing has the potential to change the way we make and design and distribute our everyday objects,” she said.
“So, it’s the next step essentially in manufacturing and we want people to get a sense of what that’s like.”
IF YOU GO:
o What: "Hidden Heroes"
o Where: Museum of Design Atlanta, 1315 Peachtree St., Midtown
o When: through May 11
o Tickets: exhibit is $10 for adults, $5 for students and $8 for seniors; classes cost $20 for MODA members and $25 for non-members
o Information: www.museumofdesign.org