A collaboration in the intersection between classic and contemporary
In 2021, Spacon & X was commissioned to create the exhibition design for two of the coming four exhibition areas. Designmuseum Danmark chose in 2019 to close their doors and start a major renovation and redevelopment in order to secure the future of the museum's framework in their listed historic building. The reopening of the museum is part of manifesting Danish design legacy, in a modernised take. Through close dialogue Spacon & X has sought to explore the encounter and contrast between the classic and the contemporary. In such collaboration we have strived to find a balance between disruptive contemporary innovations that pay a tribute to the classical.
The location of Designmuseum Danmark and its magnificent spaces are full of history, character and self-explanatory confidence. Against this, we sought to create an exhibition design that is forward-thinking and experimental. The innovative approach aims to celebrate the diversity of the exhibition while maintaining respect for the cultural and classical institution as well as paying tribute to the expressive rooms.
Spacon & X as a design and architecture studio develop spatial identities with a boundary-pushing yet respectful manner. The cross-disciplinary studio has throughout the process included a variety of ways of thinking and working with design across scales and disciplines. The primary approach has been to work with spatial organisation and zoning through innovative and sustainable materials. Keywords that have guided the design have been presence, emotional awakening, honesty and playfulness that inspires a sense of creative freedom.
‘’We want to take the visitor by the hand, and guide them through explorations of creative boundaries, with a drive and approach to continuous questioning and enhancing, as well as inspiring a perception of creative freedom in the future’’ - Nikoline Dyrup Carlsen, Founding Partner at Spacon & X’’
The main exhibition that Spacon & X has designed is called ‘’The Future is Present’’, curated by Pernille Stockmarr. The exhibition itself will present what design of the future may be and what alternatives it can offer. The exhibition has been curated with a diverse set of art pieces that ask more questions than it provides precise answers, with an ambition to make visitors wonder and reflect on what kind of future they want.
Spacon & X designed the exhibition with a sense of future optimism while addressing coming design challenges in a way that balances the unexpected with some more well-known elements, allowing the visitor to be able to relate to the future. However, to ensure that the perception of the future and the uncertainty it brings, there are surprises throughout the journey of the two exhibitions including narratives across scales.
The materials chosen are primarily from a vast range of local Danish firms providing sustainable materials. The materiality of the exhibition is carefully chosen including a variety of textiles, lighting techniques and diverse textures in layers and through transitions. Primarily, materials were sourced and used to take a stand on the future, expose choices and surfaces so that they tell a story about their creation, character and function.
“We believe that honest and raw designs invite the visitor inside, opening the design process choices as part of inspiration for the rich and creative opportunities of what the future is, and that design plays a role in this.”
As a spatial design choice, and in order to create a sense of tactility and explorative atmosphere within the spaces, we have employed a variety of textiles from the outset and throughout. The textiles act as an element to enhance room transitions and spatial divisions in a diverse manner, setting the scene for the different rooms.The textiles vary from translucent organic paper strips lit in neon, heavy nature wool in double layers, organic cotton over to reflective silver drapings and woven transparency dancing in curves from the ceilings.
Bubblegum pink coloured podiums, mirror stands and exposition cabinets, color the first room of the exhibition. The 5 cabinets rise as a stoneage scenery setting the frame around visionary art pieces, in a playful and surprising way. All custom made elements have been created by locally sourced pine wood. The use of wood supports the warm, natural and optimistic looking aspect of the exhibition. All wood has been stained with linseed oil, sourced from a small enterprise in southern Denmark that produces according to old recipes and with a great deal of craftsmanship tradition. These elements vary in color according to the different themes throughout the exhibition.
Sustainable materials and collaborations
Throughout the exhibition Spacon & X has sourced organic materials and textiles, reused materials and initiated collaborations with new innovative material suppliers. Danish seaweed producer ‘Søuld’ has been used as table and podium surfaces on custom made structures in stained wood. This also includes an overdimensioned daybed with a mattress made of mycelium in collaboration with Danish company Natural Material Studio.
Chairs for future scenarios
Spacon & X have designed four custom made chairs that are shaped differently according to the stories of the art installation of future scenarios of working remote. The space in which the chairs are put is surrounded by translucent silver textiles from Kvadrat in wavy shapes, backlit in different colors. The chairs are handcrafted in solid pinewood stained with dark ‘Tokyo’ linseed oil.
Spacon & X has used materials that are ‘imported’ from other industries in a playful manner to further expand on the contrast between the classic and the modern. Between the expected and the unexpected.
Aerated concrete is commonly used in construction for insulation and hidden structure purposes. The concrete from H+H is imported in its raw and honest form assembled in different ways, shapes and constructions for a multitude of purposes ranging from podiums, tables and holders. All concrete elements are diverse, with broken corners, shaped contour and engraved quotes that makes the close encounter worth a visit.
Integrating Aerated concrete together with other materials such as HDPE recycled plastic makes the heavy use of the material around the museum look different in each placement. The raw tactility, heaviness and industrial appearance of the concrete acts as a contrast to the beautiful and exclusive marble floors within the halls of the Designmuseum. The appearance of hand crafted treatment and poetic engravings in the close encounter enhances experiences across scales.
Seductive seating snake
Another imported material is fascines made of bio-plastic, a material that is traditionally used underground to strengthen an earthen structure from erosion from heavy rain. A landscape of recycled fascine-modules surrounded by reflective silver curtains, window blocking mirrors and suncoloured projections sets the scene for a peculiar room of the exhibition.
The Fascines have been made into flexible modules, shaped as a snake for seating as well as podiums. The transparent and filtering structure of the fascines in combination with the surrounding reflective curtains, mirrors and projections make the room feel layered, vibrating and mysterious and seek to evoke the visitor's question: what is the future behind these layers? Who will we meet? And what will we encounter?
AKUT and flexibility
AKUT is the second exhibition that Spacon & X was enlisted to design. A space with ever changing exhibitions that calls for a high level of flexibility and accessibility. Spacon & X have designed 3 multifunctional exhibition modules that can be placed, rotated and used for a diverse set of purposes. The flexibility of the modules makes it possible to exhibit in a variety of ways and create diverse spatial experiences, for many future constellations for many years to come. The modules are hand crafted in pine plywood and stained in a warm colored linseed oil creating flaming surfaces that plays against the lively marble structure of the museum floors.