The Future of Museum Design

The future of museums is changing.  Gone are the days of a static and internal cerebral experienceand instead, a simple visit to a museum is becoming a tech-savvy, exciting, experiential, educational, and collaborative conglomeration of multi-sensory inspiration.  As mentioned most recently in the MoMA’s vision statement:

“Great (art) museums not only contain exemplary works of art, they are also places where—in a single visit—surprise, learning, and reflection come together in a liberating set of experiences. They link contemplation and conversation, quiet and excitement.”  See below for our Top 5 Museum Design Trends and discover just a few of the endless solutions KI offers – satisfying everything from a peaceful solitary experience to a social convergence of the exchange of ideas.

1.  First Impressions

Not limited to art museums, this museum movement is sweeping design trends and calls for forward-thinking space applications.  As mentioned by Entertainment Designer:

“But the next wave of museums will blow your mind in terms of their use of storytelling, immersion, cohesive theming, and technology to elevate the museum visitor experience to a whole new plane…Instead of simply curating and presenting information…these museums imagined how they could transform learning by focusing on creating a deeper and more engaging experience. By borrowing from some of the best techniques in broader entertainment design, they together have created a body of work that’s likely to transform how we think about the museum experience.”

Interior spaces can reflect the overall goals and shifts of a museum’s brand and culture – even based on your first impression for your lobby and lounge space. KI’s Hub Modular Seating offers a sleek and stylish approach which welcomes visitors, and can be completely reconfigured based on fluid changing needs.  

2.  Third Space

Third spaces have long been researched as a flexible application of design encouraging the success of public spaces.  As mentioned in Museums as Third Place:

“For many years, museums have been working to fulfill missions that are variously stated as being dedicated to collecting, preserving, researching, and exhibiting their collections. What role does the visitor play in this work? What factors affect whether someone visits, how long they stay, what they do when they visit, and whether they are inclined to come back?

The idea that museums need to be welcoming to their visitors, provide fun and interesting activities, and be attractive and accessible is not new, but the marketplace for third places is becoming more competitive. Increasingly, museums are learning from the experiences of other types of organizations and businesses that there can be great value in just providing a place to hang out for people who have similar interests.”

KI offers endless solutions to this dilemma of providing flexible and successful spaces that exceed expectations of visitor needs.  According to research by the Project for Public Spaces there are four key qualities that successful public  spaces (including museums) have in common: sociability, engagement, comfort, and accessibility.  Whether café spaces, or the tech-supporting design capabilities of MyWay lounge seating, click on any of the images below to learn more and discover how KI addresses all four:

3.  Experience Design

We don’t just merely walk through an exhibit, or exist in a museum workshop, we absorb all of the information from beginning to end.  Design that encourages active learning drives the rich and compelling experience we were searching for.  As mentioned in Museums and Experience Design:

“Museums have a strong reputation for creating dynamic exhibitions and rich learning environments for visitors. As the digital age reshapes patterns of human expression and connection, museums must continue to innovate.  Experience design is relevant to the future of museums as a potential emerging field, which could help an expansion of perceptions from ‘exhibit design’ to broader ‘experience design’”

KI is highly regarding for its training room applications which can serve as both educational alcoves and learning opportunities – flexible classroom furniture also promotes the interactive learning museum classes and workshops so often promote as an additional social setting:

4.  Synthesia

Imagine being able to interact with the information being presented to you?  Described in Centers for the Future of Museums: Synthesia – Multi-Sensory Experiences:

“The demand for multisensory experiences is accelerated by discoveries documenting the utility as well as the artistic challenge and the sheer fun of engaging all the senses.”

T1 Visions’ inTouch interactive wall brings a dimension to museum communication of information and way-finding that is far ahead of its time.  Click below to see T1 in action:



5.  Quiet Corners

And lastly, outside of the visitors and guests that frequent the halls of exhibitions and cafes, the comfort, attraction, and retention of employees is also a mandatory aspect to any organization’s design.  KI’s movable walls, ergonomically supportive seating, and sit/stand desking will keep your employee happiness and productivity maintaining the museum brand and culture for years to come.

Lastly, make sure to ask us about high level space utilization capabilities to protect and preserve precious history.  Below is a video of a successful install by our sister company, Diversified Storage Solutions Inc. at the Delaware Art Museum: