Simplicity at its Finest


Unsurprisingly, the view I had at the Rochester Auto Museum was dominated by the cars. This was accomplished in two ways; first and most apparent was the cars themselves. Benign paint jobs and restrained design were not particularly popular amongst the polished 1960s era vehicles being shown off in the main showroom. As you scan around the room your eyes are drawn to the bright reds, purples and yellows that the owners of the cars had chosen to paint their exteriors. The few cars that were colored more conservatively had the flashy contradiction of their chrome against the glossy black or grey of their bodies.

The ability of these exhibits to capture my attention was amplified by the rest of the room. Aside from a retro, chessboard-style floor, the whitewashed walls created the perfect backdrop for the primary colors of the classic muscle cars. This created as few distractions as possible for my eyes. The effect was that only the vehicles warranted my attention. Their bold colors were amplified by the environment of the bland building in which they were housed and the bright lighting that made the stunning bodywork shine. I confess it is not difficult to create an environment where these vehicles stand out, It would be hard for me to miss one of these cars if It were to drive by me on the road. However, I know that in this forum I was able to most appreciate their beauty. The effect of the environment on the exhibit was to remove distraction and give you every reason to focus on the cars themselves.


4 thoughts on “Simplicity at its Finest

  1. I really enjoy the fact that this museum puts the cars right in front of you. This is different than many museums I have been to where its mostly pictures or small objects behind walls. This is such a large piece of art to appreciate, I agree it would be hard to not have each car stand out. Although, it does seem very smart to have a simple floor pattern and white walls to add a lot of contrast.
    I do wonder, were there descriptions in front of any of the cars? I personally do not know a ton about cars, and would be interested in reading up about the history or maybe the exact car I were to look at. Maybe even some video playing through a TV on the wall 🙂
    Great picture, I hope your experience at this museum was a great one.

  2. The idea of simplicity in design is very interesting. Sometimes extravagant and complicated design can be appealing, but I agree with you that in this particular case the designers made a good choice in keeping it simple. Your photograph definitely shows the merits of this simplicity. The blandness and monotony of the background makes the flamboyance and flashiness of the cars stand out to the viewer. All of the bright colored cars contrast well with the simple black and white room, which makes the cars that much more visually impressive.

    I think the choice of the black and white checkerboard pattern on the floor is also compelling, because it reminds me of the checkered flag used in racing, and evokes the ideas of speed and performance and success. It looks like in your picture that there are no barriers between the viewers and the cars. I think this enhances the viewer’s experience as well by allowing them an up close and personal look at the exhibit without anything impeding their view.

    To me, it looks like the designers of the museum decided to let the exhibits visually speak for themselves instead of drawing any excessive attention to them, which I commend.

  3. The concept of simplicity in the museum design is very intriguing. I think the designers of the museum where very wise to refrain from posting car related posters, or pictures on the walls. Most people with an interest in cars probably have had pictures of these wonderful muscle car on their bedroom walls, or have gazed at photos of these models on the internet. The auto museum is a chance to see these models in person. Most of the visitors to this museums probably have seen tons of photos of theses models before even entering this museum. Thus most visitors would not care about any photos or posters on the wall thus, the design of this museum with the blank walls is perfect. Any photos or decoration would only detract from the experience, not enhance it.


  4. Hello jpelz710,

    I enjoyed your illustration for this week. I must agree that this is definitely simplicity at its finest. This image really catches my attention from the moment I see it. I actually chose to post a reply to your illustration this week just because this picture stood out so much compared to the others.

    I agree with you that the chessboard floor with the white blank walls and white-ceiling tiles really allows the retro vehicles in this museum to stand out. The paint jobs on these cars are so bold that they really stand out and catch the viewer’s attention. It is so simple, but yet so powerful. I wrote in my discussion about how the Auschwitz museum needs to keep the viewers engaged and interested when they are walking through. As much as old artifacts can be interesting at times, they can also be boring. I believe that from just looking at this picture, this museum keeps the viewers engaged through simplicity and the bold colors that these cars have. I am not much of a car person, but I personally feel involved and fulfilled on the inside because it is such a strong image. You mentioned that there are very little distractions for your eyes. I believe that the fewer the distractions, the easier it is for the viewers to focus on the exhibits in front of them. From this, their minds will not wonder and the museum does an excellent job attracting the viewer.

    Good Work!

    Todd Skirving

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