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The Making of an Institution — Communication and Mediation, Part II — SPATIAL IDENTITY: Lectures by Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad (United Kingdom), Wilfried Kuehn (Germany), and Laura Miotto (Italy/Singapore)

18 Mar 2017, Sat 10:00 AM - 01:30 PM
The Single Screen, Block 43 Malan Road

Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad’s practice spans from neighbourhood plans and public spaces to recipes, games and objects. His approach to design draws on play theories and strategies of defamiliarisation as contextual research tools that actively engage different publics in design processes.

His presentation will focus on Hello Stranger (2016), a critical game designed with and for staff members at the Victoria & Albert’s Museum of Childhood, London, United Kingdom. Estrangement devices were created to induce “question-making” as a tool to recalibrate the overfamiliar and sense the museum anew in order to critically reflect upon the experiences it offers and the qualities it values.

In this lecture, Wilfried Kuehn will address the concept of “Curatorial Design”, an expression coined by the Kuehn himself. He will explore the role of space and architecture in artistic and curatorial practices through several case studies of exhibition displays and institutional projects he developed, including the exhibition design for Documenta11.

Laura Miotto will address site-specific spatial narratives focusing on her work for the Malay Heritage Centre in Singapore. Located in the historical precinct of Kampong Glam and re-opened to the public in 2012, the Centre undergone three years of interpretative planning that repositioned the institution in the cultural ecosystem of Singapore. Miotto will unpack site-specific strategies to regenerate connections with the many identities associated to this significant place, looking at the intersection between architecture, site, and narratives.

This lecture is part of the public programme of The Making of an Institution.


Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad (United Kingdom) is a designer based in London. His studio practice spans from the domestic to the public realm, from neighbourhood plans to products and recipes. He is interested in the changing role of the designer within complex urban conditions and draws from the permissive nature of play and processes of defamiliarisation to develop methodologies that actively engage publics within design processes. He collaborated with various art institutions in London, United Kingdom including The Showroom, The Serpentine Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Hashemi-Nezhad is currently a lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London, United Kingdom.

Wilfried Kuehn (Germany) is the co-founder of the architectural office Kuehn Malvezzi established in 2001 together with Simona Malvezzi and Johannes Kuehn. Past projects include the architectural design for Documenta11, the Flick Collection in the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany, the Julia Stoschek Collection in Düsseldorf, Germany, which was nominated for the international Mies van der Rohe award. The firm has designed the reconfiguration of a number of contemporary and historical art collections, and dealt with sensitive preservation issues for listed buildings such as the Belvedere Museum, Vienna, Austria. Their projects have been shown in international solo and group exhibitions, including the 10th, 13th and 14th Architecture Biennial in Venice and Manifesta 7 in Trento, Italy. Kuehn Malvezzi participated in the 1st Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015.

Laura Miotto (Italy/Singapore) is an Associate Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University and Design Director of GSM Project in Singapore, an international firm specialised in exhibition design originating from Montréal, Canada. With 15 years of experience, Miotto has worked on a multitude of permanent and temporary exhibitions. Her focus on heritage interpretation and design strategies involves the sensorial experience in the context of museums, thematic galleries, and public spaces. Among her projects, the Living Galleries at the National Museum of Singapore received the Design Exchange Award in Canada in 2007 and Quest for Immortality: The World of Ancient Egypt was Design of the Year 2010, President Design Award, Singapore. Miotto was the exhibition designer for NTU CCA Singapore’s exhibition Incomplete Urbanism (2016—2017).

Image credit: Hello Stranger, 2016. Courtesy Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad.