Project Walkthrough: Disney x ACMI Window Installation

Project Walkthrough: Disney x ACMI Window Installation

In May 2021 we designed and created an immersive installation for the Disney: The Magic of Animation exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne. We designed a series of set pieces and decals for the exhibition shop windows, and styled and art-directed the accompanying visual merchandise display. Here’s a look into our design process from concept phase through to installation! 


ACMI approached us to design a colourful window installation for the exhibition shop, which paid homage to Disney and its rich animation history. We were also invited to curate the visual merchandising display for the windows and style the exclusive Disney merchandise that would accompany the exhibition. The brief required us to inject our own artistic style and personality into the design while simultaneously staying true to Disney’s very specific design aesthetic, and the exhibition’s colour palette, which was derived from Disney characters. What a great challenge!



Our first design concept inspired by Mary Blair started off as a sketchbook collage

We drew my initial inspiration from two sources. The first was Mary Blair, an American artist, animator, and designer. She was prominent in producing art and animation for The Walt Disney Company, drawing concept art for films like Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Cinderella. She also created character designs for iconic Disney attractions like Disneyland's It's a Small World. It was actually her designs for It’s a Small World that inspired the shapes and motifs of our first design concept. 

We were also inspired by traditional animation techniques - the layering of different graphics on film to produce moving images and the traditional dioramas that contain multiple layered pieces, creating depth and an immersive world to draw in a viewer.

When creating concepts for any project we usually start with paper collages and mock ups as a way to “sketch” in 3D. Next, these paper components are scanned and transformed into digital vectors from which to generate technical drawings. The digital components can then be scaled and transformed into print-ready artwork for generating decals and set pieces. All of our projects tend to start and finish as tactile, physical forms - despite moving through digital phases in the design process. 

Our second concept was inspired by animation techniques and dioramas and paid homage to the main exhibition colour palette


Vectorised technical drawings for each window concept based on papercraft mock ups


After receiving concept approval (for Design Concept 2 - the yellow and red diorama-style window), and preparing final artwork, we worked with local suppliers to fabricate moveable set pieces for the window and create vinyl decals for the windows and permanent plinth structure that would house the installation in-store. 

Vinyl decals going up on the outside of the window to create depth

A permanent VM plinth is wrapped in vinyl to continue the design inside
Large free-standing, moveable set pieces to create the diorama look


“Kitiya was a pleasure to work with installing a bright, playful and multi-layered response to our Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition Disney: The Magic of Animation. Kit was incredibly thorough and professional, providing two concepts with detailed drawings that facilitated swift approval among stakeholders. She was able to problem-solve and adjust her designs on the day of install and the result was a stunning celebration of shop product adding colour and vibrancy to our retail frontage. ”



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