New York-based graphic designer and typographer Stefan Sagmeister opened his first Los Angeles exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Pacific Design Centre last month. Entitled Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show, the exhibition looks at Sagmeister’s principal area of interest in the relationship between text and image, while focusing on the pursuit of happiness through by observing various maxims and undergoing cognitive therapy and mood-altering pharmaceuticals. Borrowing from the research of Harvard psychologists Daniel Gilbert and Steven Pinker, anthropologist Donald Symons and several historians, The Happy Show is a streamlined approach that marries Sagmeister’s personal experiences with generic data detailing the role of age, gender, money and other factors that contribute to happiness. 

The Happy Show is unique for its holistic use of space, with illustrations spilling out of the main exhibition area to lifts, toilets and staircases, mirroring the possibilities of finding happiness all around us. Some of the more enchanting pieces in the exhibition include a white bicycle that powers up a typographic installation when visitors cycle it; and a projection mapping installation that changes colour when the visitor smiles. Even if the visitor goes away clueless as to the best means of attaining happiness, The Happy Show will no doubt thaw even the iciest hearts.

The Happy Show is on at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles until 9 June. 

Museum of Contemporary Art Pacific Design Centre, 8687 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90069 

All images courtesy of the museum.