Project Name: Competition for the Permanent Exhibition of the Emigration Museum in Gdynia
Location: Gdynia, Poland
Area: 3600 m2
Service: Interior & Exhibition Design
Stages: Conceptional Design
Investor: Museum of Emigration, Gdynia
Project description: Senses, Emotions, Life Stories
The conceptual design proposal for the artistic and spatial arrangement of the permanent exhibition at the Emigration Museum in Gdynia is a based on a contemporary interpretation of the exhibition subject, while maintaining the historic character of the old Marine Station and the Transit Warehouses.
Unconventional space planning and progressive material solutions including cutting-edge multimedia technologies aim to achieve the most effective impression on the visitor and creates a mysterious and theatrical set design, which invites the spectator to share, learn, sense and interact with the world of emigrants.
Highly advanced visual and audio installations and additional forms of media and communication captivate, incentive and enchant the audience regardless of nationality or age. The Exhibition creates unconventional places, that are acting on all senses and inspire and amaze spectators to experience an aesthetic, emotional and unforgettable exhibition with a strong educational impulse.
The Idea and Symbols
The overall concept of the exhibition as well as the spatial arrangement of the main exhibition rooms are based on two ellipses. They are connected by narrow corridors leading to a central space. The Ellipses symbolize the two worlds, lives and cultures, every emigrant feels deeply inside. The motherland and the new world.
The corridors are symbolizing the journey, the effort, the way and choice, the bourdon as well as the excitement of emigration. The central space between the two worlds marks the mental and sensuous position of an emigrant. The space symbolizes on the one hand the ambiguity and on the other hand the diversity and richness of every emigrants mind, life, experience, who is standing between two worlds, cultures and identities. Each of the ellipses features a central space (Nucleus) with a central attraction point and a main subject of the exhibition.
Other Symbols are the boat, the wave and the sea which are inseparable from the place, history and function of the Maritime Station and the historical subject of emigration in Poland.
Individual stories, narratives and communication method
All these symbols are coining and shaping the narrative of the exhibition, whose primary goal is to tell the story of emigration from the perspective of the individual.
The exhibition is created out of multiple individual stories to clarify that there is not one story of emigration but that emigration is a profound, diversified and comprehensive subject that consists out of countless individual life stories through time, history, culture and all layers society.
Each emigrant has their individual and unique story to tell and only the combination of these stories together create the true story of Emigration. Some exhibition spaces therefore deliberately cover various time spans and places and show emigration as an ongoing process.
The narrative of the main exhibition is based on the experience of the emigrant and transfers information and knowledge through experiencing and interacting with atmospheric spaces that are touching the spectators senses, feelings, consciousness, and mind.
The exhibition is organized successively and goes through each of the stages of emigration: Preparation, departure, journey and arrival to the destination. The visitor becomes an emigrant travelling through the process of emigration. He cannot be only a passive observer, but has to interact with the exhibition subject. He has to make decisions, which causes reactions and the ability to see through the eyes of emigrants. The exhibition offers also intimate spaces to look and listen to individual stories, and reflection spaces.
After exiting the highly educational and emotional main part of the exhibition the visitor walks through the corridor of history, a chronological summary of the exhibition subject. The corridor finishes with a glass bridge that cantilevers from the building and imitates the historical bridges to the ships. The glass bridge creates a place to think and reflect on the exhibition, while overlooking the sea and the unique location of the historic Gdynia Maritime Station. For many emigrants it was the last memory of their home country for those who came back, the symbol of arriving back home. For a long time Poland began and ended here: MUSEUM OF EMIGRATION, GDYNIA UL. POLSKA 1