The original capitol to the state of Iowa, Old Capitol went through a major renovation after a devastating fire. On display just inside the main entry is our donor recognition wall which recognizes those who helped to successfully open the doors to this historical museum.
The University of Iowa staff, and the former director of the Chicago Field Museum, Dr. Sandy Boyd, originally hired a Canadian firm to do the design and build of the exhibits. The University hated the design and found the firm didn’t listen to their wants or needs. Large firms are notorious for adding “bells and whistles” to their exhibits which add costs to the overall budget. It is our philosophy, that flashy electronic exhibits should only be added when they make sense, and fit the space. Back to square one, the University hired Presentations to redo the design and build the exhibits, interpretive panels, and the donor recognition display.
We constantly get asked, “What did you do, I don’t see anything?” That is the best compliment. We consciously made sure all of our work blended into the original architecture of the building. Because the building is the exhibit, the exhibits should blend and not standout to distract the space.
The donor recognition panel was no exception. Located just inside the entry door this donor wall panel is the first visual on display. Important but subtle was our focus. Our concept was to match the donor display to the rest of the interpretive panels in the museum. We also needed to fit the display within a small wall area yet include hundreds of names within three different campaigns. An image of the old capitol is used as the backdrop which flows across each panel to unite the three campaigns. Each section is a different color, each color is taken from room colors throughout the museum. The name panels are design to feel like the tall columns of the building. The quality craftsmanship and custom wood work with multiple levels and insets shows a level of importance to the piece. Plus the design of the trim and shape perfectly matches the museums interior features. And even the paint color was custom to match the original historic off white found in the museum.
Easy to read and functional, the donor wall is a true test of our environmental design skills. We always look to the space for our inspiration and thoughtfully design for the client.