Tag Archives: visual presentation and exhibition design


Passersby migrating down Seventh Avenue in April may have noticed a certain avian majesty in the Pomerantz Center lobby.

Some of the birds in the Fowl Play exhibition.

Some of the birds in the Fowl Play exhibition.

Through the magic of brightly colored feathers, two sections of Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design students, overseen by faculty members Anne Kong and Mary Costantini and with help from Glenn Sokoli, transformed mannequins into their interpretations of a bald eagle, a flamingo, a snow owl, and many other birds.

The idea came about after Chloe Arauz, Fashion Merchandising Management ’10, showroom manager and trend director at the Feather Place, a shop in the Garment District, pitched the idea of teaching students about feathers.

The students visited the Feather Place’s showroom and learned how feathers are shaved, dyed, and trimmed, to be prepared for use in fashion. Hue was relieved to know that feathers are only harvested when birds are put to other uses, such as for meat or ostrich leather.

Each small group of students chose a bird and studied its shape, size, pose, and style. They selected the perfect mannequin and feathered together a fabulous coat.

This blue guinea fowl would be right at home on a runway!

This blue guinea fowl would be right at home on a runway!

They used turkey quill feathers and various kinds of rooster feathers, such as stripped coque, in which all the barbs are removed except at the tip. They avoided ostrich feathers, though: because of a recent ostrich shortage, the feathers have become pricey.

“A lot of them used four or five different birds in their mannequins,” Arauz notes. “You couldn’t look at them and say, ‘That’s a turkey feather.'”

The birds have long scattered, but they will flock once more at the Long House Reserve in East Hampton on July 19 for an event to honor Cindy Sherman and Agnes Gund.

This prancing flamingo must have left its backwater to study at FIT.

This prancing flamingo must have left its backwater to study at FIT.



Who knew that the most eco-friendly container for milk and juice is almost a century old? That’s right, the humble cardboard gable-top carton, patented in 1915, delivers freshness with minimal strain on the environment. The cartons create very little waste and can be recycled.

Through January 30, Project Carton, an exhibit about this sturdy standby, including faux refrigerator cases stocked full of student-designed cartons, brightens up the Fred P. Pomerantz Art and Design Center lobby.

FIT’s “supermarket,” chock full of cartons created by Packaging Design students. Photos by Smiljana Peros.

Evergreen Packaging, producer of paperboard containers, sponsored the exhibition, along with an FIT student contest to design cartons for “Pure No Pulp Calcium Enriched Orange Juice,” “Good Grazes Skim Plus Milk,” “Frontier Farms Almond Milk,” and “All Natural Pure Granulated Sugar.” Judges from Walmart and Coca-Cola, among other companies, picked the winners, which are displayed on the contest website.

Packaging Design students created the cartons, and representatives from the Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design Department crafted an environment reminiscent of a high-end supermarket, plus an immersive interpretive pathway at the edge of the room. Hue hopes to see more environmentally friendly packaging from the Sustainable Packaging Design credit certificate, which launched last fall.

The back view of the supermarket display case.

Hue enjoyed all the entries, though the winning milk carton stood out as unique and particularly enticing. We generally prefer not to stare at the cow when drinking the milk, but Jennifer Ahern’s whimsical contour drawing makes us excited to down our calcium.

The interpretive walkway, featuring a blown-up version of the winning milk carton.


The holiday season came early this year at FIT: This week, a Surrealism-themed pop-up shop, “Holiday Bizarre,” touched down in the Pomerantz Center lobby, featuring designer fashions selected from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Thrift Shop—“the Bergdorf of thrift stores,” according to Anne Kong, Display and Exhibit Design ’77, assistant professor of Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design. The shop is open from 12 to 8 through Saturday, November 23, and all profits go to cancer research, education, and patient outreach.

“Thrift store shopping is not just a trend,” Kong said. “With Beacon’s Closet, Housing Works, and Buffalo Exchange, it has become a new channel of retail experience.”

The storefront of “Holiday Bizarre,” created by students in the Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design Department. The Merchandising Society is staffing the shop.

The space didn’t pop up out of nowhere. Earlier this year, the MSK Thrift Shop worked with two VPED classes, led by Kong and Adjunct Assistant Professor Mary Costantini, to invent and execute a retail concept to bring secondhand fashion to FIT. One of the classes, on “point of sale,” teaches pop-up shops; the other involves building installations for visual merchandising.

There was no shortage of fun proposals: a gingerbread house, an antique circus, an homage to Bryant Park holiday shops, everything purple, and more. But the Surrealism idea won out for a few reasons. First, it reflected the artistic bent of the School of Art and Design. Second, it didn’t hew to any particular religion. Third, it coincided with an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art about René Magritte. Fourth, it had a killer name.

“Originally it didn’t have the name, and I said it needed one,” Kong remembered. “When the students came back with ‘Holiday Bizarre,’ everything changed.”

Shopping at the “Holiday Bizarre” is totally surreal.

The students had three weeks and $4,000 to build it. They crafted a storefront to look like picture frames and made eyeball ornaments out of beach balls. The details are all there, too: hand-printed hang tags, customized shopping bags, a Magritte shower curtain for the changing room, and other surprises.

They also worked with the thrift shop to curate the merchandise for the FIT community. (Net-A-Porter also donated new and slightly damaged pieces.) Considering a pair of Louboutins already went for $550, Hue thinks they got it right.

Update: The final sales tally after five days was a whopping $35,000. Bravo to all involved!


A public service announcement from Hue: Anyone who hasn’t seen the Art & Design Graduating Student Exhibition is missing out.

But if you are missing it, or if you did miss it (it closes May 23), then here is your consolation prize: more photos of the fabulous work by the (equally fabulous) Smiljana Peros.

In Packaging Design, in the lobby of The Museum at FIT:

Skin care product packaging by Kathleen Gamboa, Packaging Design ’13. The triangular boxes have major shelf appeal.

Another luscious illustration with phenomenal detail:

“Solitary Woman,” an oil painting by Alyssa Bauer, Illustration ’13.

The floor plans by the Interior Design BFA students were hard to capture in a photo, so here’s a design by an AAS Interior Design student.

“Bird House — Inspiration: Ridley Scott,” a mixed media project by Esther Bang, Interior Design.

Last but not least, the Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design group project is an exhibition about the superhero, entitled “Heroes and Villains,” in the Pomerantz lobby. It’s a lot of fun, especially for youngins and comic-book geeks, but also for anyone who enjoys superhero movies and innovative exhibitions.

A jester in the Heroes & Villains exhibition in the Pomerantz lobby, created by the Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design graduating students.


Assistant Professor Anne Kong, Display and Exhibit Design ’77, was named one of nine Retail Design Influencers in DDI Magazine’s September issue, for her work bringing together Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design students and the industry they’re working toward.

She’s also mad talented at building stuff.

As a prototyper, she takes commissions to create larger-than-life versions of everyday products. Like these Skullcandy headphones that she custom-built, all in different sizes, for 25 statues around New York City.

Even the FiDi bull is trying to tune us out.

She sculpted each one in foam, coated it in plaster, and sanded it smooth. Then she lay a sheet of PVC plastic over it and heated it up until the plastic started to droop. A vacuum machine underneath sucked the PVC onto the form, and voila, instant headphones. They might not have been functional, but from a marketing perspective, they worked like a charm.

She also made this enormous Clarisonic cleansing device, for a trade show. If it actually vibrated, this baby could polish the kitchen floor in ten seconds flat.

The mother of all sonic cleansing brushes.

She placed each bristle, as fine as a human hair, by hand. It took four days.

The Clarisonic brush before going into hair and makeup.

“They give you killer deadlines in this business,” she says. “And when you finish something, they’ll ask you to illuminate it.”

These feats are all the more astounding when you consider that Hue cannot make a working paper airplane.