Modular architecture and exhibition space

Spatial collage as a strategy to decode the architectural matrix of the museum

  • Itai Margula Margula Architects
  • Theresa Kraus Independent researcher, dramaturg, szenograph
Keywords: modular architecture, museum furniture, exhibition design, spatial collage, exhibition space, space theory


The authors examine the role of modular museum furniture for creating an adaptable exhibition space, fostering a dialogue between the architectural matrix of the museum, the artworks on display, and exhibition design. Based on German pedagogue Friedrich Froebel’s conception of educational play materials or ‘Spielgaben’, Margula Architects devised adaptable design solutions that include museum furnishing, exhibition architecture, and modular systems for the presentation of artworks. These solutions rescale basic geometric forms into architectural elements for customizing exhibition and event space, rendering museum furniture reusable according to the needs of the museum’s program, the collection, exhibition narratives, exhibitors, and visitors. By upscaling Froebel’s concept of playing gifts for young children into an architectural concept, Margula Architects create a spatial language of adaptable forms, which can be moved, combined, stacked, and merged, providing a sustainable, yet multifaceted interior design solution for museums, which can be integrated seamlessly with surrounding architecture and the artworks on display. They combine their approach with the idea of spatial collage, which understands the spaces of the museum as an assemblage of multiple time-spaces mediated by exhibition architecture, devising a multilayered spatial concept, working with space as an active matter of presentation, spatial transformation, and interpersonal communication. The conference presentation aims to detail Margula Architects’ approach to exhibition architecture and their modular system of adaptable museum furnishing, based on Froebel’s geometrical conception of ‘gifts and occupations’, while expanding on the concept of spatial collage as a method for museum design. Also, an introduction to the principles, processes, and outcomes of modular museum design and their implications will be given. Finally, an architectural language for envisioning exhibition space as malleable matter will be presented, in the light of a new conception for exhibition architecture that approaches the museum as a lived space of human interaction and personal inspiration.

Author Biography

Itai Margula, Margula Architects

Itai Margula is an architect, designer, exhibition designer and freelance curator with an office in Vienna. With his team he develops exhibition formats for museums, publications, and art books as well as individual design solutions and architectural projects. In 2018/2019 he attracted great attention with his scenography for the exhibition »Shrew Mummy in a Coffin and other Treasures« curated by Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf. He worked as a designer for Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Fondazione Prada, MAK, Belvedere, Jewish Museum Wien, and the Secession. His works on visible and invisible urban realities were exhibited and published at the 11th Architecture Biennale in Venice.

How to Cite
Margula, I., & Kraus, T. (2023). Modular architecture and exhibition space. UXUC - User Experience and Urban Creativity, 5(1), 60 - 73.