Maquette Making

Perhaps the most important weapon in a planner's arsenal, the maquette, or scale model, of the planned exhibition space will allow the team to test colours, graphics, layout, panel sizes and much more.

Rough mock-up of space.

Maquette- Floorplan
Obtaining blueprints of your proposed space, or taking simple measurements is the place to start.
Decide on a scale that is appropriate to your exhibit space. For example, if you have a large open space that is 40 feet long, do not use 1:10 because you maquette will be 4 feet long. You want something manageable, but that will be easy to work with and big enough to show some detail and get your point across.

Maquette- Materials
The most common materials used in maquette construction are Gatorfoam, Foam-cor, light woods (balsa) and some plastics. The best way to get started is by calculating your total wall length. Once this number is obtained, figure out your wall height and cut out continuous strips of material on a table saw so that all of your walls are exactly the same height. Of course, make sure to check your material for square.

Maquette- Construction
Use simple materials and common tools. The goal of a maquette isn't to build a full exhibit in scale, but to create a planning tool. Test colours and paint your walls. Make sure all doorways, windows, and architectural features are represented in proper scale. This will allow you to test panel sizes, layout, case sizes etc.

Maquette- Panels and Furniture
Again, the goal of a maquette is planning. Use mat board, plastic sheet, round and tubes (available at hobby stores) to make scale show cases and features to discover flow and accessibility issues. For panels, simple rectangles cut to scale will suffice, however, it does add a lot if you have some preliminary design work done, which can be printed onto scale pieces. If you want to go a little to far, you can create "gravity wedges" to hang your scale panels and move them as needed.