Obsession: Sir William Van Horne’s Japanese Ceramics

Toronto, ON

Project Facts

  • Location

    Toronto, ON

  • Status

    Completed 2018

  • Partner

  • Client

    Gardiner Museum

The exhibition design for the Gardiner Museum’s Obsession: Sir William Van Horne’s Japanese Ceramics showcased the expansive collection of one of Canada's most prolific collectors. Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, the exhibition ran from October 2018 to January 2019 and featured over 350 pieces of Japanese pottery alongside Van Horne’s exacting watercolours, annotated notebooks, letters, and related archival material. HPA was engaged to tell the story of his collection and to develop a design that would foster a dynamic case study of the history of collecting in Canada. A series of glass-enclosed showcases created a pathway that guided the viewers, allowing them a more intimate engagement with the collection that surrounded them as they wandered through the exhibit. The materials palette, lighting design, graphics, and display cases were all carefully curated to create a focus on the breadth of the collection and the obsessive manner in which this collector compiled and archived the Japanese ceramics.

Project Facts

  • Location

    Toronto, ON

  • Status

    Completed 2018

  • Partner

  • Client

    Gardiner Museum

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A rectangular spiral of showcases led the viewers through the exhibition, enclosing each delicate artifact.

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A rectangular spiral of showcases led the viewers through the exhibition, enclosing each delicate artifact.

The deep colours chosen for the walls and dividers and the focused lighting allowed the ceramic pieces to stand out, as viewers were engaged to take a closer look at the elegant intricacies of the pottery.

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The deep colours chosen for the walls and dividers and the focused lighting allowed the ceramic pieces to stand out, as viewers were engaged to take a closer look at the elegant intricacies of the pottery.

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In the centre of the exhibition, an interactive space for intimate in-gallery sketching sessions took inspiration from Van Horne’s collection.

In the centre of the exhibition, an interactive space for intimate in-gallery sketching sessions took inspiration from Van Horne’s collection.

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