Past Exhibits

Paul Rand: Defining Design

Sunday, October 27, 2013 - Sunday, January 26, 2014

American designer Paul Rand (1914 – 1996) defined design as a unified activity, based on analysis and governed by imagination. Throughout his lengthy career – in which he created some of world’s most successful and recognizable logos such as those for IBM, Westinghouse, UPS, and ABC – his design work was governed by fundamental principles that he identified in his writings, such as beauty, intelligence, repetition, symbol, and humor. Today, designers across the world derive influence and inspiration from Rand’s body of work, acknowledging that he set new standards for graphic design.

Paul Rand: Defining Design will examine the trajectory of Rand’s career in an entirely new way, juxtaposing his iconic designs with discussion of the design principles by which they were informed. In addition, short films, interviews, and examples of Rand’s persuasive writings will further illuminate this legendary designer’s thoughts on the design process.

The exhibition is curated by Daniel Lewandowski, creator of the website

XYZ: Alternative Voices in Game Design

July 14, 2013 - September 2, 2013

Co-presented by MODA and Georgia Tech’s Digital Media Program, XYZ: Alternative Voices in Game Design is the first-ever exhibition that highlights the work of women as game designers and artists.

A response to the popular misconception that women neither play nor create video games, this interactive exhibition redefines viewers’ perceptions of what games are and can be. XYZ introduces guests to alternative games that are outside the mainstream and demonstrates their capacity to convey a diverse range of ideas, experiences and emotions.

Click here to make a donation in support of this exhibition.

For information about corporate donations, please contact Barbara Richardson, Director of Development at 404.856.5963 or

Hidden Heroes: The Genius of Everyday Things

February 23 - May 11, 2014

Hidden Heroes. The Genius of Everyday Things highlights the stories behind the design of 36 ordinary objects that have revolutionized the way we live, such as paper clips, bubble wrap, and pencils.  Organized by The Vitra Museum in Germany, the products showcased in this traveling exhibition illuminate four aspects of their design: innovation, production, evolution and inspiration.

Barrique: Wine, Design & Social Change

Sunday, September 15, 2013 - Sunday, October 13, 2013

This exhibition spotlights a wine barrel (barrique) recycling project taking place at Europe’s largest residential treatment center for young men and women recovering from drug addiction and social exclusion. Located in San Patrignano, Italy, the 1,300 residents of this treatment center learn professional skills – including viticulture, wine making, and woodworking – and produce more than 450,000 liters of wine each year, aging it all in 230 liter French oak barrels.

The fact that these barrels can be used for only three years led the community of San Patrignano to develop an innovative design project for the recycling of old wine barrels. They reached out to thirty well-known designers and architects — including Marc Sadler, Karim Rashid, Angela Missoni, and Alessandro Mendini — asking each of them to design a piece of furniture using wood reclaimed from wine barrels. Then, the residents of San Patrignano crafted the pieces of furniture out of old barrels, effectively demonstrating how design innovation can be used to achieve social good.

The furniture crafted in this project was displayed to great critical acclaim at the Salone del Mobile in 2012 and will be on display at MODA in 2013 as part of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ “Year of Italian Culture” in the United States.


Join us on October 5, 2013 for Festa Italiana, a special evening celebrating this exhibition and produced in collaboration with the National Italian American Foundation. Tickets are $50 / $40 for MODA members. For more information, click here.

Sustainable Shelter: Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature

January 18 - April 5, 2015

Sustainable Shelter: Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature discusses the techniques through which animals and humans have adapted to differing environments through an amazing diversity of structures. The exhibition investigates the ways that human dwellings extract, use, and discard energy, water and other precious natural resources and reveals innovative new design solutions that can help restore the health and viability of Earth’s natural environment.

Sustainable Shelters is organized by the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota.


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The South’s Next Wave: Design Challenge

November 11, 2012 - March 31, 2013

The South: home to numerous design talents, both emerging and seasoned. The Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) presented The South’s Next Wave: Design Challenge. Part exhibition, part competition, designers of interior spaces were paired with object designers who together created imaginative vignettes throughout the museum.

Curators David Goodrowe and Tim Hobby co-founders of Aesthetic Identity Design™ firm Goodrowe | Hobby™ directed the work of set /interior designers and of object designers in fields from furniture to fashion who exemplified the myriad new directions the Southern aesthetic has taken.

Set/interior designers were paired with object designers to create original vignettes.  “We envision each vignette as a distinct environment with many layers,” says curator Hobby. Each vignette was technologically enabled with the Skovr app, allowing viewers to access facts and video about the designers while in the galleries or from their own homes.

The South’s Next Wave: Design Challenge ran through November 11, 2012 – March 31, 2013.



Skate It or Hang It!? The Evolution of Skateboard Art

Skate It or Hang It!? was held at the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) between June 16, 2012 to October 28, 2012.

The exhibition, curated by W. Todd Vaught, examined the visual aspects of skateboarding, a sport important to contemporary youth culture since the 1970s, by presenting a broad range of styles, imagery, and visual expression in skateboard art.

With a broad focus on skateboard graphics—in particular the styles and methods used to embellish skateboard decks—the exhibition appealed to a broad range of skateboarders, designers, artists and to Atlanta’s youth in general.

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Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Posters

October 2, 2011-January 1, 2012

Graphic Intervention presents a comprehensive overview of the diverse visual strategies employed by government agencies, community activists, grassroots organizations and motivated citizens to educate the local population.

From Papua New Guinea to Denmark to Venezuela to Morocco, these posters demonstrate the different approaches used for discussion of a socially complex subject. The messages in Graphic Intervention deftly champion pertinent sociopolitical issues – disease research and eradication, world health, international relations, sexual education, social prejudices and discrimination – in a remarkable way.

Curated by Elizabeth Resnick, Professor and Chair of Graphic Design at MassArt and Javier Cortes, Partner and Creative Director at Korn Design, Boston. Posters included in the exhibition are from the collections of the James Lapides International Poster Gallery and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.


Stories in Form: Chair Design by Portfolio Center

February 5 - June 3, 2012

This spring, the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), in partnership with Portfolio Center, presents an exhibition honoring history and design through the medium of the chair. Stories in Form: Chair Design by the Portfolio Center runs February 5 through June 3, 2012.

The works featured in Stories in Form are created as part of Portfolio Center’s nationally acclaimed course “Modernism: History, Criticism and Theory,” which explores design history as a catalyst for new design ideas. While learning about Modernism, the history of design and the development of critical thinking skills, students in the course create chairs by means of a design process that combines inspiration from a historical period with personal experience.  This exercise in design is recognized nationwide for the challenge it presents to students, for it compels students to go beyond perfunctory design solutions and to balance old and new, conservative and eccentric, safe and dangerous as they design chairs that re-imagine their personal histories as three-dimensional objects.

Portfolio Center’s groundbreaking class has also been featured in the new book Design School Confidential: Extraordinary Class Projects From the International Design Schools, Colleges, and Institutes by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico. This book features fifty real-world class assignments from top design programs at universities around the world, and examines the resulting student projects.

Each chair on display at MODA will be accompanied by the story of its creation. In addition to demonstrating the step-by-step design process that brings these chairs into being, the exhibition will highlight the ways in which design objects tell stories of design history and personal experience.

Emerging Voices 11

January 10 - January 22, 2012

In partnership with AIA Atlanta and the Young Architects Forum Atlanta, MODA presented Emerging Voices 11, an exhibition dedicated to celebrating the work and talent of Atlanta’s young architecture community.

Honored in the exhibition were Ryan Gravel of Perkins+Will for his visionary work which led to the Atlanta Beltline and Tristan Al-Haddad for his research and experimentation at the Georgia Institute of Technology and as a founder of Formations Studio.

For more information and reviews of the exhibition, click here.