The annual event features art installations created by global designers, university professors and a local high school design team, exhibited throughout the city.
2023's Exhibit Columbus features installations celebrating the architectural legacy of the city, which is famous for its high concentration of modernist architecture, including a number of buildings by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen.
The theme, Public by Design, was chosen to prompt participants as to how collaborations between designers and communities can create more equitable and attractive cities.
Tatiana Bilbao Estudio encouraged guests to design public space by offering a "library of things" such as furniture, objects and sports equipment.
Objects such as chairs, baskets, tables, shovels, mats and soccer balls were encased in an oversized blue bookshelf that spans the entry to a local library and an adjoining oversized staircase of the same blue hue.
Participants can gather the objects to make a public space of their own in order to "express their desires and intentions".
At a major crossroads in the city's downtown, Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) created a white, ballooning canopy for civic engagement and celebratory purposes.
Capped at the same height as the neighbouring buildings, the canopy spans the intersection and draws from diverse forms – from the Pantheon in Athens to the wigwam, a dwelling typical to Indigenous people of what is now the eastern United States and Canada.
Lights were installed in each corner to cast a variety of colours on the underside of the canopy at night.
In nearby Mill Race Park, New York's Studio Zewde installed a sweeping red structure made of bamboo poles and crossbeams, shaped in a sloping semi-circle.
The spine-like installation was modelled after the hill opposite and placed in a festival field as an homage to the community's strong ties to the two topographical landmarks.
On the same site, PORT planted a band of native plants that follow the same arc as a community centre building in the park.
It is subdivided into 12 distinct plots of varying plant species that act as "rewilding experiments", some mown and others left to grow wild, bookmarked by lines of wildflowers.
Brightly coloured observation decks and survey poles were arranged along the edge of the project.
Also, a series of trellises and seating created by a team of high school students used moveable furniture to encourage guests to create a community space of their own, not unlike Bilbao's installation.
Made with 1,000 linear feet of steel tubing, the structure spans sixty-four feet and features brightly coloured awnings and Lego-like blocks for seating.
An installation created by full-time university professors Halina Steiner, Tameka Baba, Forbes Lipschitz and Shelby Doyle of The Ohio State University and Iowa State University College of Design encourages conversations about urban waterways with a brightly coloured model of subterranean water infrastructure.
A sound installation by Deborah Garcia of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was programmed to transform a building's structural rumblings into a therapeutic melody.
The curatorial team included designers and city officials. Exhibit Columbus will host an ongoing series of activities, installations and talks throughout the remainder of the exhibition.
In 2020, Dezeen teamed up with Exhibit Columbus to host four talks exploring the future of cities in the centre of the USA and in 2019, SO-IL wrapped 130 trees in a colourful hammock for the event.
The photography is by Hadley Fruits.
Exhibit Columbus will be on show throughout Columbus, Indiana until 26 November, 2023. For more exhibitions, events and talks in architecture and design, visit the Dezeen Events Guide.