Met Studio designs £1m Netherlands maritime experience

Met Studio is designing a £1m interactive gallery at the Netherlands Maritime Museum in Amsterdam.

The group and its Dutch bid partners, project manager Hypsos and content developer Tinker Imagineers, beat four other European consortiums in an unpaid creative pitch at the end of last year.

‘Most competing consortiums had a UK designer,’ says Met Studio project lead designer Peter Karn, who observes that ‘international designers are in great demand from Dutch museums, particularly for bigger projects’.

The museum briefed Met Studio to design the Maritime Experience, a four-room, 450m2 experience, based around three objects: a blanket in which a little girl was rescued from a sinking ship in World War I; a series of letters from an 18thcentury sailor; and the 350-yearold museum building and former naval depot.

The museum hopes that the show, which is on the ground floor, will entice visitors to explore its collections.

‘The three objects are so inanimate, but the stories behind them give them power,’ says Karn. Met Studio is using film projections and moving sets to animate the stories.

Entering the first section, which explores the building’s heritage, visitors will be confronted by an empty room, ‘and may think that they have taken a wrong turn’, says Karn. ‘But then the ceiling lifts, to reveal suspended candles, and the room is bathed in yellow light.’

A film projection will show an admiral pacing the room, while real windows overlooking Amsterdam’s harbour will superimpose medieval-era boats on to the water.

The second room contains a 360° projection of stormy seas (pictured). A ‘quick-fire’ montage of 400 years of naval history, including excerpts from the sailor’s letters, will end at World War I.

The third room will contain a ‘nightmarish, Tim Burtonesque’ boat set and projections that will tell the tale of a small girl rescued, in her blanket, from a sinking cruise liner after it was hit in World War I. The Maritime Experience opens next spring, along with the rest of the museum, which is undergoing a largescale renovation by Dutch architects Atelier Zeinstra van der Pol and Lauren Ney.

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