Mobile Design Box is a pop-up exhibition space facilitated by the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning and Mo Zell, UWM SARUP Associate Professor and Associate Dean. The design of the debut exhibit space was performed and built by Ryan Tretow of multidisciplinary Milwaukee-based studio, TRETOW, LLC.

Mobile Design Box was conceptualized as a pop-up exhibition and event space that play host to and expose Milwaukee’s best new design talent.

The design of this exhibit specifically focused on the use of inexpensive materials in simple but exciting new ways. As a temporary space, it was important that the design and install be cost effective and removable. Thus, we decided that the exhibit design aesthetic should also take on these characteristics. In an effort to blend Milwaukee’s industrial warehouse heritage with the next generation design talent in the city, we opted for stacked plywood shipping containers for exhibit displays and abstracted floor markings to denote their location in the space.

Further, via a sponsorship from Plumen, we were able to light the products and the raw interior of the space in dramatic fashion; highlighting the objects on display ans setting the mood for a more gallery-like setting relative to other pop-up ventures.

The work in this debut exhibit is the award-winning Urban Lifestyle Collection by TRETOW. The collection was launched last summer in Chicago during an offsite NeoCon event.


The large open plan pop-up exhibition space

stacked plywood crates display

stacked plywood crates display 2

stacked plywood crates sit on the denoted floor areas in a variety of positions

Detail of the products on display

exhibition graphics detail

products on display

Attendees at the launch party event

Attendees at the launch party event

Looking through the pop-up storefront to the launch party beyond