We’ve all experienced the conventional museum; the words from the audio set seem to fly out of your head as soon as you’ve left the building. Kossmann.dejong are a design firm that pride themselves on creating public spaces that do exactly the opposite.
In fact, their aim is to transform the visitor from the role of an observer to that of an active participant. Their workings take place in social spaces, where people meet to interact and learn. Rather than drifting through spaces on pilot mode, the team invite visitors to be inspired and emotionally involved in the experience, leaving with notions that will surpass the average museum memories.
Speaking of pilots, the National Military Museum of Soesterberg exhibits Kossman.dejong’s ability to exhibit beautifully. With such a topic as war, the importance of transferring information, as well as emotion, in an understandable and accessible manner is vital. Of course, located in the birthplace of Dutch aviation and featuring many authentic pieces of wartime history, from old to new, the museum naturally grabs your attention. However Kossmann.dejong brings it to life with their sharp and intelligent design.
Huge artifacts such as planes and tanks are positioned and suspended on the high-ceilinged, daylight-filled ground floor, whilst a blackbox area is located on the first floor with thematic spaces that capture the visitors in history through panoramic films, animations and dynamic sounds and lighting.
To move on to a more public project; the Markthal in Rotterdam holds a permanent, open-to-all exhibition, designed by Kossmann.dejong, that has won the “Prize for Dutch Public Archeology”. 'The Time Stairs' is a great example of the firm’s ability to transform a common public space into an area of awareness and learning. During building excavations for the Markthal, numerous artifacts were found under the foundations, dating back a number of centuries. Rather than opening a space elsewhere, Kossmann.dejong helped create an interactive exhibition within the very walls of the Markthal.
A graphic timeline is featured on the walls of the escalators, so as you make your way up and down the floors, you are, in a sense, travelling through time, learning about the civilisations that dominated the land before Rotterdam present day. The artifacts themselves are exhibited in spaces that lie under the escalators, along with interactive touch screens that allow members of the public to delve deeper into the historical experience.
It’s projects like this that place Kossmann.dejong as one of the most interesting design practices, and also what makes the team at Bolidt so proud to work with them.
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