Stories About Man and Power in 10 Objects

Merit Award 2015

Stories About Man and Power in 10 Objects reveals the relationships between people and authority, from tsarist times to the German and Soviet occupations of the country. The main storytellers are 10 authentic objects connected with specific people and stories. For example, a harmonica tells the story of the people and authority during Latvia’s 1905 Revolution, while a typewriter speaks of Baltic German emigrants and a pair of boots relates a story of personal courage in a collision with authority.

The stories behind the objects were the main inspiration during the design development. Design Studio H2E created 10 rooms with 10 main objects and supporting artifacts, and 10 story lines that merge to create one unified story line. A conjunctive form, namely rooms as neutral and dark groundwork, is used for reconstruction of the history while specific scenography is created with the help of video, audio, and lighting.

A combination of different inspirational aspects persisted during the design development stages. First, 10 main objects and many more artifacts that reveal the relationships between people and authority in the 20th century. Second and particularly, the emotional stories that stand behind the objects. Last, the historical context of one of Soviet-era Riga's most notorious buildings – the KGB Building – where the post-Soviet style exhibition premises are situated. The exhibition was open to the public May through October 2014.

Jury Comments: 

“A limited design palette unifies this exhibition of disparate objects and stories. A closer look reveals the thoughtfulness behind blocky pedestal forms, barbed wire meshes, and light-slashed black floors—all of which support the theme of man and power.”

“This took an already strong curatorial idea and delivered it in a striking way. The restraint is admirable: rather than going for a lot of super-graphics or color, the designers created an environment that gives tremendous weight to a series of small objects. Quiet contemplation is encouraged, and the weight of history is almost palpable.”

Design Firm: 

Design Studio H2E

Client: 

The Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation

Location City: 

Riga, Latvia

Project Area: 

2,454 sq ft

Open Date: 

May 2014

Project Budget: 

$50,000

Photo Credits: 

Ansis Starks, Didzis Grodzs

Design Team: 

Holgers Elers (principal/lead designer); Ingūna Elere, Tatjana Raičiņeca, Ģirts Arājs (graphic design), Līga Ansone, Anete Šalma, Madara Jansone, Dagnija Balode, Santa Pikuma, Elīna Elere (realization)

Consultants: 

Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation (content); Ints Bērziņš, Jānis Zučiks (AV technology installation); Ingars Putniņš, Aigars Mazjānis (exhibition elements); Antra Cilinska, Roberts Rubīns, Ģirts Arājs (multimedia)

Fabricators: 

Design Studio H2E (primary fabricator)

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