How to plan your next exhibition: design softwares for art gallerists

When planning an exhibition, it is not easy to figure out how to arrange artworks in a blank space. Having a well-thought-out concept, an assortment of quality artworks and staying perfectly on schedule doesn’t always guarantee that the exhibition will meet your expectations. Once you are walking around, it can happen that the exhibited artworks just don’t possess that kind of vibration and harmony.

In order to avoid these problems, you can create a visual mockup for your exhibition before you finalize your plans and start installing the artworks. Having a blueprint of the location can be of great help –  you are able to mark out the pieces on it to scale, giving you and idea of how much the space is filled up. However, a 2D drawing may not give you all the answers regarding your exhibition space.

Virtual 3D modeling may seem like a difficult and daunting task if you don’t have experience with the specific softwares. Or, perhaps not.

Sketchup

Sketchup offers ‘3D modelling for everyone’, as it is stated on their website. It’s actually very easy to use, especially after watching a few of their tutorial videos which cover all the basic functions of this software.

In Sketchup you are able to build precisely sized walls and design basically any object imaginable with ease while correcting your mistakes only takes a few clicks. You can directly import paintings and 2D objects into your model that automatically appear in scale and in perspective. The built-in 3D Warehouse offers you an immense variety of different items so you can let your imagination roam free when designing your arrangement.

An additional software called Layout 2017 allows you to plan the layout of your space; unfortunately, only its trial version is free to download.

Pros:

  • – Free
  • – Easy to use
  • – Unlimited amount of items you can import
  • – Customizable designs

Cons:

  • – No option to plan a layout   

Floorplanner

The interior design software on Floorplanner.com allows you to create a layout and even offers prepared arrangements which you can resize to your liking. You can also view your design in 3D.

The software allows you to place pieces of furniture in your space, but you can’t design custom objects with it which limits the possibilities of presenting unique installations.

Pros:   

  • – You can design a layout
  • – You can design in 3D
  • – Free
  • – Compatible with Windows and iOS

Cons:

  • – Only available online
  • – No custom objects

In case you are still not convinced about the merits of virtual visual design, you can always create an actual mockup of your space using cardboard. However, be prepared for the possible difficulties caused by the unique installations and also the dust that always accompanies DIY projects.

Ágnes Koller 
Curator of cARTc Gallery, 
Program Coordinator of Budapest Art Week