For the NGV’s 2022 exhibition Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse, BoardGrove were tasked with designing a temporary store for merchandise associated with the exhibition experience. McQueen’s interest in death, ritual, belief systems, religious doctrines and mythologies prompted us to think about religious furniture and objects – such as altars, pulpits, shrines, water fonts, doors and ciboriums.
These sacred items influenced our design thinking resulting in a collection of objects (alter, shrines, font) that formed the basis of the retail display. Like their religious references each object is somewhat exaggerated in its form, giving it a heightened presence and designed with specific merchandise in mind.
A long stepped alter fills the depth of the store. Overhead it is adorned with a cluster of lights, staggered in a pyramid layout – the inverse of the altar plinth below. The remaining display objects consist of a circular hollow display table (baptism font), wall shrines, a long hanging shelf with hooks underneath and existing freestanding rail and recessed periphery book shelves. Tying all objects together is an iconic patterned McQueen tartan carpet that echo’s the tradition of having carpets or rugs at the bottom of church alters.