World War I marked a major turn in the history of the world. It deconstructed the lives of nations and individuals. Helplessness, uncertainty, pain, insecurity. But also patriotism, hope and longing. These emotions were always present in WWI.
This permanent exhibition on Latvians in World War I embraces emotions and creates awareness of WWI and its consequences, both nationally and worldwide. The design team was challenged by the amount of exhibition content and the degree to which they wanted visitors to be emotionally present.
The exhibition design concept is deconstruction, communicated metaphorically through stylized boxes of ammunition irregularly arranged to create passages of frontline trenches. The trenches intuitively and emotionally lead visitors through the exploration of content, endlessly turning left and right and causing an altered perception of time and uncertainty of what will happen around the corner.
Historical exhibits that silently keep memories and stories within them are exhibited in the ammunition boxes. There is no emotional boundary between visitors and exhibits due to the use of invisible Groglass glass. Weapons stand as if they can once again serve.
Short movies visualize specific stories of certain exhibits while embedded touchscreen monitors give in-depth information on specific themes and illustrated maps detail the course of war. Animated large-scale audio-visual projections introduce and end the exhibition by giving a strong emotional and intellectual message.
The grey color dominates to symbolize sorrow and melancholy, with thematic accents of revolutionary red and uniform khaki. Lighting plays an important role to create the feeling of the frontline. Sounds and songs create additional levels of narrative, for example, soldiers sing about their daily lives as visitors explore the related content. The changing floor level symbolizes the feeling of instability and uncertainty that war brought.
Holgers Elers (lead designer, technical); Inguna Elere (lead designer, graphic design); Dagnija Balode (project manager); Girts Arajs, Martins Vitols, Laura Lorence, Antonijs Laksa, Charly Bloedel (designers); Madara Jansone (assistant)