Here’s Jacopo Carli from Eutropia Architettura (see my previous IKEA STUVA room divider hack) with a fun didactic challenge: what about designing the World’s Smallest Museum in an Ikea PAPPIS Box? Not just an in scale maquette representing something bigger, but a real scale installation, a micro-show about a famous artist.

So I challenged the students of my “Psychology of shapes and forms” class at the Interior and Product design Accademia Italiana University of Florence.

I pushed them to hack the box creating something innovative, surprising. The point is: fit in the box, think completely outside it!

I think this could be a fun exercise even for other teachers or an educational game for kids and children.

You just need a few steps to create your mini museum:

  1. Choose your favourite artist and make a study on him/her. I was really surprised by my students’ unconventional and crazy selection (rock bands, ice dancers, directors…)
    2. Then, imagine collaborating with him/her in a 2-person installation that should fit an IKEA PAPPIS box. The installation should be in real scale, quite a prototype, not a maquette.
    3. Think completely outside the box!

So, as you can’t enter into the small box the questions are:

Can you open the box? Can you see inside? Can you unfold the box and use it as a surface? How can you interact with the box? Does the box beam light in the room? Are visitors passive or active in the artistic play?

Here is a small selection of a few interesting and surprising work my students (interior designers, photographers, graphic designers) did for the final exam.

1. ARMANDO TESTA (graphic designer)

Testa’s work in Advertisement is based on anthropomorphism and zoomorphism. Martina unfolded the Pappis box creating a “Chinese Shadow” didactic game so visitors could interact with Armando’s world, being part of the artwork.

2. KEITH HARING (painter)

Keith Haring is the “Grand Father” of contemporary street artists. Valeria created an installation helping children to easily design Haring’s puppets so they could stick it on the blank white exterior of the box as ready-made graffiti.

3. LORETTA LUX (photographer)

Loretta Lux overlays different images creating a world of surrealistic childhood. Sara designed a magic box in which you can merge different images creating your original piece of art looking through two oculars.

4. MARK RYDEN (graphic designer)

Mark Ryden is a graphic designer and illustrator focused on contemporary surrealism. Eleonora created an installation distorting the regular perspective, creating something that could be seen by different dynamic points of view.

5. CLAUDE MONET (painter)

Alessandra focused on the relationship between Monet and refractive water effects in his “Les Nimpheas” series. The installation allows users to see Monet paintings through a small water basin, understanding the effects of refraction on colours and perception. You could even customize your experience by colouring the water and putting small floating objects.

The Smallest Museum in the World. Stay in the (Pappis) box, think outside!
6. PIERO MANZONI (artist)

Piero Manzoni was a really provocative artist famous for his “Artist’s Shit” created in 1961. Cosimo imagined an installation put across a wall so you see one side at the beginning of the visit and the other side only at the end. The closed side allows you to enter your hand but not to see inside the box, so you can win your fears and touch different mysterious and “dangerous” objects in a blind experience. At the end of the exhibition, you see the same box wide open so you could find its content “safe and clean” laughing at the scared visitors on the other side of the wall.

7. PINK FLOYD (rock band)

Pink Floyd was a Rock Band well known all around the world even for their psychedelic mood. Valentina designed a Lo-Fi, DIY immersive micro space in which a built-in VR helmet and a fan create a multisensorial experience showing a short clip inspired by the band. I really love the rough outside of the box, looking as if the micro-museum travelled through a Worldwide Tour.


Quentin Tarantino is famous director deeply influenced by a sort of mythology of “retrò atmospheres” from the seventies. Stefano created a prototype of a series of boxes containing specific scenes by Tarantino. As a graphic designer, Stefano invented a Low-fi 8-bit style to design characters and scenes. A LED light with a sensor emits light and casts shadows in the room.

9. SALVADOR DALI’ (painter)

Salvador Dalì is one of the most important exponents of surrealism. Lucrezia designed a box deeply involved with Dalì’s dreamlike atmosphere, a box that couldn’t be opened, a box melting as a waxwork heated by a flame hidden inside the box.

10. TIM BURTON (director)

Tim Burton is really well known for his dark atmospheres. Claudia designed a box as a tribute to the crafty attitude of the first Burton’s films. As the box couldn’t be opened you can see inside through a keyhole and get surprised by a moonlight landscape.

11. WES ANDERSON (director)

Federica designed a box as a tribute to perspective and to Anderson’s art of shooting.

12. YAYOI KUSAMA (artist)

Camilla designed a box as an interactive installation by Yayoi Kusama. By moving the magnetic dots on the exterior of the box, the user could move the 3D printed pumpkins in the interior changing its position and creating infinite combinations.

Photo credit: Asia Banchi and Francesco Bianchini

~ by Jacopo

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This content was originally published here.