Quatrefoil Associates announces a major milestone in the exhibition/experience design firm’s three-decades-long history. Effective immediately, a new leadership team takes control of the firm’s management and operations.
Michael W. Burns, Roula Tsapalas and Bernhard Mueller have been with Quatrefoil for a combined 45 years and have played key roles on many of the firm’s most noteworthy projects. Now, they’ll lead the firm into its fourth decade.
“I’m confident we have the right team in place to ensure the firm’s continued success,” said Quatrefoil Founder and President Abbie Chessler. Abbie will be stepping full-time into her work as an artist. Founding Partner Ernie Falcone will focus on his other company, an engineering and data acquisition firm, Mars Labs.
“Abbie and Ernie created a company culture and an environment in which collaboration, creative thinking and innovation were encouraged. Looking forward, our clients need this more than ever,” said Bernhard Mueller, Quatrefoil’s new Chief Executive Officer.
“It has been a challenging year for our industry,” said Michael Burns, Quatrefoil’s new Chief of Experience Strategies. “This is a time for industry-wide reflection and examination of how we’re serving the public, and helping museums reach a broader range of audiences.”
“Quatrefoil has a long history of planning and designing cultural and regional history exhibitions and visitor experiences, including projects dealing with sensitive and challenging content. I believe this experience is valuable to the firm and our clients as we face new challenges,” said Quatrefoil’s new Chief Operating Officer, Roula Tsapalas.
During the past year, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic grew, the new management team worked closely with the Founding Partners to respond to the resulting challenges. The new leadership also directed Quatrefoil’s energies on how new approaches in exhibition planning and design can address the pandemic, economic crisis and issues related to diversity, equity, accessibility, inclusion, climate change and social justice.
These efforts include the recent launch of Quatrefoil EXO, a planning and design initiative focused on activating the museum experience in the public sphere; and the completion and public opening of “Our Changing Waterfront,” a permanent exhibition at the Annapolis Maritime Museum.
Bernhard joined Quatrefoil in 2003. He has been the project manager for many of Quatrefoil’s largest and most complex projects including the Museum of Boulder, United States Mint Visitor Tour and multiple projects for the Smithsonian Institution. For several years, Bernhard managed Quatrefoil’s in-house multimedia and AV unit.
Prior to joining Quatrefoil in 2010, Michael was the Director of Exhibition Design at the Field Museum in Chicago (1998-2007) where he was responsible for the design and development of major exhibitions including “Evolving Planet,” “Ancient Americas” and “SUE: The T-Rex,” as well as the Pritzker DNA Lab. Michael was also the Creative Director at the John G. Shedd Aquarium (2007-2009).
Roula brings to each project not only her experience at Quatrefoil designing visitor experiences for a wide range of institutions across the country, but also her previous experience as a Senior Design Architect with the firm RTKL. She has achieved LEED Green Associate credentials. She joined Quatrefoil in 2002.
Bernhard, Michael and Roula can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively. Partners Emeritus Abbie Chessler and Ernie Falcone can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.