The client, a public institution operating many different museums in the Austrian region of Styria, desired a fresh concept for the new history museum’s exhibitions and its entrance, which are housed within a significant historic building in Graz’s city centre. The task was to highlight the enormous number of objects acquired since the Middle Ages and multimedia archives of the 20th century in a historic space that required special treatment. In addition, the team needed to create a multifunctional, flexible and affordable display that could simultaneously be easily transformed for different settings, while also providing an atmospheric transition with the content throughout the space.
The exhibition concept is based on a journey that begins with ‘Schaudepot’, an exhibition depot, divided into two parts: the Cultural History Collection and the Multimedia Collection. The first section of ‘Schaudepot’, meaning ‘exploring depot’, honours the diversity of physical objects, which are usually hidden in the museum’s storerooms, and reflects industrial material use with less customisation by providing an interaction with the historic artefacts. The second part of the depot focuses on multimedia archives. This section invites deep insight, with custom scenography based on individual exploration guiding visitors through the genesis of the Multimedia Collection.
The exhibition includes approximately 2,000 objects from the Cultural History and Multimedia Collections that have been placed in a 486m² space using industrial material to create a continuous display wall. The flexible metal layer is gentle on the historical wall, offering interior space for technical content behind it. The modular and multifunctional displays, enclosed with fine rope nets, generate a homogeneously infinite metal loop that simultaneously unites the objects and the space – offering a conscious contrast between past and present. The customisation process was made simple for the museum employees with the adaptation of this standardised construction material for presentation and maintenance needs. Its meshed, lightweight surface allows artificial light installed behind to pass through, and creates multidimensional light and shadow play on the walls and ceiling above. To include natural lightning, the historic windows have been incorporated in the walls’ composition, offering views of the city landscape as part of the exhibition concept. Finally, formerly hidden treasures of both collections have been made accessible to the public in a raw and industrial surrounding, enabled by the fluent transition that allows a balance of historic content and contemporary exhibition design.
“It has a very contemporary attitude that makes it more appealing to visit”
“It’s an excellent example of good interior design, which awakens our curiosity’’