Ventspils Museum Exhibition

Merit Award 2014

The Ventspils Museum permanent exhibition is located in the 13th century Castle of the Livonian Order of Knights, one of the oldest castles in Latvia. Design Studio H2E took this special context into consideration in creating the exhibition. The team’s design concept is based on the shards of history that have impacted the castle and the port city over the course of centuries. The team translated the concept of shards visually through asymmetrical, polygonal shapes that form furniture, display cases, interactive stations, and other elements throughout the exhibition. The design language was intended to create an emotional and spatial adventure in itself; therefore, digital technologies and interactives were dispensed sparingly.

The aesthetics of the broken lines (shards) symbolizes the heterogeneous course of history with all its turns of power, facets, and revolutions; the figurative shards illustrate the preserved fragments of the former wholeness of time. In the exhibition, traditionally matte materials were replaced with glass surfaces which, being achromatic, absorb the colors of the surrounding space and give visitors a chance to observe themselves in the mirrors of history, in historical context. Glass surfaces were patinated (after a year of glazing experiments by the design team), muting their brightness and avoiding any dissonance with the historic environment.

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Jury Comments: 

“Exquisite use of materials, textures, and artifacts. Modern shapes set into an ancient interior. This exhibition respects history, and creates a completely immersive and authentic experience. The casework and exhibition components are very modern and yet integral to the existing interiors. The designers were very light-handed in their use of exhibition techniques. What knocks us out is how this set of rooms embraces you and transports you to another place and time.”

Design Firm: 

Design Studio H2E

Client: 

Museum of Ventspils

Location City: 

Ventspils, Latvia

Project Area: 

6,360 sq ft

Open Date: 

August 2012

Photo Credits: 

Ansis Starks, Indriķis Stūrmanis

Design Team: 

Holgers Elers (principal/lead designer); Ingūna Elere (exhibition and graphic designer); Tatjana Raičiņeca (graphic designer); Anete Šalma, Ģirts Arājs, Aleksandrs Beznosiks (designers); Dagnija Balode (project coordinator)

Consultants: 

Pēteris Blūms (interior/architectural design); Ints Bērziņš (AV technologies); Ingars Putniņš (exhibition elements); Ventspils Museum (Armands Vijups, Margarita Marcinkēviča, Ingrīda Štrumfa, content)

Fabricators: 

Design Studio H2E (primary fabricator), Interactive Design Systems (exhibition/media production)

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