Our mount design team has over 60 years of collective experience in the field and we regularly discuss optimising designs as we strive to build on our vast empirical archive .
The following case studies serve as a synoptic insight to this process.
National Museum of Australia: Flying Seven Sisters (Magna 2018 winner)
This was one of the more complex components of the Songlines build. We were given the task of suspending the seven oversized Tjampi sculpures from an SHS ladder frame which we attached to the lighting truss system in the temporary gallery.
Conservation set strict requirements for a system that broadly and evenly supported the flexible and fragile grass and string sculptures. Our design solution comprised a stainless steel half exo-skeleton and stainless cable harness system.
Once the design was approved by the head of conservation and endorsed by a contracted structural engineer, we set about fabricating. The exo-skeleton was custom fitted to each sculpture and once it precisely matched every contour on the object, it was ready for the base colour powdercoat.
We meticulously applied an individual color and pattern matched paint finish to achieve a very effective "camouflaging" of the supportive armature.
The high precision fit of the exo-skeleton and detailed paint work in combination with the black suspension wires produced a very convincing and striking flying sculptural exhibit.
At all stages during the build, the engineer inspected the materials, welds, anchor points and swaging, as the objects were to suspend up to six metres above museum visitors.
UNSW: Belt gifted to John Howard from George W. Bush
John Howard's belt in the Howard Library project presented several design challenges; It is both flexible yet weighty and the exhibition design specified that it should be displayed 'floating' over a fabric wrapped plinth.
To maintain the appearance of levitation, a cantilever design was used. This approach requires the judicious placement of varying guages of stainless sheet and wire, to achieve a result that is both stucturally robust and aesthetically unobtrusive.
National Museum of Australia Invisible mount for bra
The NMA approached us to develop a solution for displaying some textile items as though they are floating within the exhibit.
We custom fabricated a stainless wire frame and fully concealed it in matching cotton fabric, which eliminated the need for a clumsy foam form or distracting mannequin section. The outcome allowed the viewer to read all aspects of the object inside and out, and made for an aesthetically sophisticated display.
UNSW: Military tactical vest
The design brief for this object was to display the textile in as much detail as possible, making a mannequin unsuitable.
We designed and fabricated an invisible support which gave the appearance that the vest is being worn by the soldier. Most significantly, this gives the viewer a unique insight to the modular internal adjustment system which is designed for tailoring the vests to specific individuals and mission requirements.
National Museum of Australia: Australian of the Year glass trophies
In this case we had two critical attributes to consider; the object is transparent and thus reveals any supportive structure used, and the glass object has a significant mass with a high centre of weight and a narrow footprint.
These challenges were overcome through the use of a custom fitted countersunk baseplate with a concealed weld captivating arm and clasp design.