United States   |  2022

MUSE Design Awards Silver Winner

State Ethnological Museum and Museum of Asian Art

Entrant Company

Ralph Appelbaum Associates

Category

Interior Design

Client's Name

Humboldt Forum

Sub-Category

Exhibits, Pavilions & Exhibitions

The newly opened Humboldt Forum is envisioned as an international forum of art, culture and science. Comprising over 170,000 square feet over two whole floors of the building, the permanent exhibitions of State Ethnological Museum and Museum of Asian Art present Germany’s most comprehensive non-European collections — unique artistic and cultural artifacts from Africa, Asia, America and Oceania. Thematic exhibition modules, family areas, activity rooms, listening spaces, multimedia installations and visible study collections provide a multifaceted stage to engage in active dialogue with and between the world’s cultures, to engage in a proactive dialog about the collections, and to celebrate the diversity of human experience and achievements. Far more than an aesthetic display of some 24,000 historic objects, the exhibitions were designed as a dynamic platform for intercultural discourse around historic and contemporary events and ideas. The exhibitions are organized by continents and geographical regions for the visitors’ overall sense of orientation. Within these regions, the exhibitions are thematically curated—40 distinct exhibitions each with their own curatorial concept. The whole exhibition is thus decisively not encyclopedic, multifaceted and also non-linear. The project also required close collaboration and technical coordination with the curators. Within the museum’s collections, an extremely wide range of materials and art objects (permanent/large and small) required a deep understanding of their aesthetics and their conservation requirements. Discussions with curators allowed for a design that had as a goal not only the conservation and aesthetic appreciation of the collections, but also flexibility and the ability to frequently change the presentation of objects. For this project, over 530 speciality showcases were designed according to German State Museum Standards for conservation. We also designed over 12,000 object mounts which can be adapted to each object’s specific presentation requirements. Visible study collections areas are fitted out with large scale flexible showcases for displaying the mass and breadth of collections and media stations for in-depth study. The project provides a captivating and emotionally engaging immersive stage for flexible and adaptive messaging, able to connect deeply and emotionally into cultural heritages while also addressing contemporary perspectives and topics.

Credits

Exhibition Design
Ralph Appelbaum Associates
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