One of the biggest joys for an ex-Museum Director, Museographer and Cultural Consultant, is the challenge of planning and setting up an Exhibition, specially one that can bring some mind boggling situations into solution.
The second floor is the largest exhibition hall at the Macao Museum of Art and where the most important exhibitions are held.
To think of a way to display and occupy the numerous walls with a total of 73 watercolours whose average size is in the 8 x 10 inches area, was challenging.
As usual and almost mandatory, museum walls are generally white, neutral. When viewing the walls, hanging the paintings in the traditional frames would make them disappear, vanish in the huge walls and space.
To solve this problem I devised a way to keep the white soft atmosphere and yet create rythms by encasing each watercolour into a raised platform about 110 cm wide by 240 cm high and with a thickness of about 7.5 cm. This would create a volumetry that would interplay with light, occupy more space, and encase each watercolour in a such a way that it would confer to the paintings a status of visual preciousness.
This was one of the early proposals that I made when I took charge of the project. The Museum director gave me his approval and we proceeded under this concept. It was very gratifying to deserve full confidence and then see that Ung Vai Meng liked it.
A small team was assigned. Just me and Fong Zhao, and it then grew according to need. It is amazing what just 36 people in the entire Museum can do in a year.
These are top notch people, enthusiastic, dedicated. As much as Ung Vai Meng, I believe in motivated people by creating a warm and genuinely friendly atmosphere. It does miracles.
I tend not to concentrate decisions. I believe that everyone has its share of responsibility and I must say that I came to know Fong Zhao, who is assistant coordinator as well as I knew Staci, as well as Isabel Vicente, Margarida Saraiva and the designers. They all were encouraged to be creative and take the decisions that they felt they could take without consulting me.
Margarida for instance, did a very nice video of a gentleman who is now 86 years old that knew Smirnoff. I told her to handle everything from scratch to end. She was to interview the gentleman and let him speak about the war years. Then she was to fill in the interview with pictures and outdoor views.
I suggested that we should, hereafter, have a CD-Rom for each exhibition, and as usual, with strong effort from a young girl who was my design student at the Polytechnic, managed to make a very nice work in just about two weeks. That is what I love about Macau. We do miracles all the time.


Fong Zhao and I surveyed the set up at its early stage. One could see that the walls were becoming busy with the volumetry of the encasing concept.
I knew that it was the only way to fill the huge space in such a way that the watercolours would not be lost.
Design for me is about simplicity and common sense. I feel accomplished when people like what they see, yet they don't know why. That is one of the secrets of design for me: understatement.
It can, however, be the opposite. It very much depends on the situation.

Everything went smoothly. No fuss, no rush. Everything as planned, with security at set up.

The watercolours were already mounted in acid free boards and were quickly placed.

Fixing the lights

There is a calmness matching the contents of Macao in the 1940s

Each section has a panel cutting large mural plotted images Main exhibition panel

Ars Cives fecit