Inside the Collection

Meet a Museum Designer- Krister Gustafsson

Krister Gustafsson working at his desk in front of tablet and computer
Photography © Powerhouse Museum, all rights reserved.

Over on D’Hub we’ve started a new series of interviews with designers called 6×6. The concept is simple. We interview 6 designers in 6 minutes each – delving into the quirky, the unknown, the understated and the oh-so unbelieveable personal habits, interests, thoughts and idiosyncracies of Australian and International designers. Here is a snapsot from our 6×6 series of interviews with museum designers.

Designer’s name: Krister Gustafsson
What he’s known for: Designing interactives and participatory experiences (Krister is an Industrial Designer in the Powerhouse Museum’s Interactives Department)

Q1. Who is the last person you received an email from?
Myself! It was a reminder about some research work I have to do.

Q2. What design projects are you currently working on at the Museum?
The Wiggles – I am designing an interactive called ‘The Fruit Salad Machine’. It’s a creative concept which gets children to slice pieces of fruit and toss it into a bowl. It includes a cooking bench top with projections. You can toss the virtual fruit into a real bowl and pieces of fruit foam get blown around in the centre.

Q3. How did you get here?
The job advertisement was pointed out to me. On the same day as the Powerhouse Museum interview, I also had one at the Australian National Maritime Museum. But, to actually get the job, I studied Industrial Design at UTS and I ran my own Industrial Design consultancy business for entrepreneurs.

Q4. Apart from your computer, name 5 items on your work desk you just have to have to make an effective working day
Vernier calipers, a ruler, lots and lots of paper and pens for sketching, fruit and a bottle of water. I also need a big ass screen!

Q5. How is working as a designer in a museum different from any other context?
It’s super-dooper creative! You get to specialise in creating one-off pieces and you can work with people from really diverse backgrounds and see how everyone is a collector in one way or another. There are great learning opportunities here too, and it’s a highly supportive environment.

Q6. Do you have a ‘design bible’? If so, what is it?
I have a few. The work of Swiss architect, Bernard Tschumi, really changed my way of thinking. He has really strange sayings like “In order to really appreciate architect, you need to commit murder”. His way of thinking polarises his fans and it brings punk into my work. Also, more recently, I’ve been reading one on game design by Jane McGonigal. It’s about empowering people through digital media.

Q7. What do you consider to be your greatest museum design accomplishment to date?
The Magic Garden – a highly interactive and immersive play space for kids to make them take their health more seriously.

Q8. What’s the last Word document you opened on your computer?
A document on the The Wiggles exhibition which lists the experience objectives and how my interactive can support child development.

Q9. What’s your favourite ‘designed’ object in the Museum’s collection?
The one that’s worth the most! Actually, I really like the Baron Schmiedel bust!

Q10. What’s your ultimate [real or fantasy] design project you’d like to work on at the Museum?
I can’t reveal this yet!

From the top…
Interviewees are asked to select which of the following pairs of words best describes them.

Minimalist or clutter? Clutter
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
Zoe or Cogs? Zoe
City or the burbs? The burbs
Vegemite or peanut butter? Peanut butter
Holden or Ford? Holden
Beatles or Stones? Stones
London or Las Vegas? London
Nightclub or night in? Nightclub
Early bird or night owl? Night owl
Coke or Fanta? Fanta
One pillow or two? One pillow
Red or blue? Blue
Fiction or non-fiction? Fiction
Live or recorded? Recorded
Run or swim? Run
Runny yoke or hard yoke? Hard yoke
Diesel or unleaded? Unleaded
Brisbane or Melbourne? Melbourne
Dali or Magritte? Dali

Complete the sentences…

The most expensive thing on my body today is… my organs. But, they’re not insured.
At the moment, I am putting off… retirement.
What irritates me the most is… politics.
If I wasn’t working at the Powerhouse Museum, I would be… an artist of interactive live performances and children’s interactives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *