50 Shelves is a minimal exhibition located in Toronto, Canada, designed by Tom Chung commissioned for the Triennale; Greater Toronto Art 2021, Museum of Contemporary art Toronto. Chung’s 50 Shelves (Study for MOCA) is a conceptual structure that embraces simple lines, modularity, locally-sourced manufacturing, and shared economies. Fifty identical aluminium units comprise the entirety of the Museum’s retail space. In this context, they’re also a display structure for the museum shop’s offerings. Each unit is available for purchase at the exact cost of production.

As a result, the structure serves as a diagram for the often neglected side of exhibition making; production budgets, sustainability and ownership. As each unit is acquired, the shop depletes, inspiring new configurations as the exhibition unfolds. This latest vision renews the designer’s commitment to local industries, manufacturing knowledge, and democratic design. Each piece, engraved and hand numbered, will be for sale for $250 with 80% of the sale going back to the community by way of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, the remaining 20% will cover administrative costs for the project at the museum.

Photography by Toni Hafkenscheid