Snøhetta has developed the exhibition design and identity for the Utestemme/Outdoor Matters exhibition at the National Museum – Architecture in Oslo. The exhibition turns the spotlight on the pioneering era of landscape architecture in Norway from 1900 to 1960 by exhibiting historical material from the archives at the Norwegian College of Agriculture at Ås (now NMBU). The content is focused on the planning, designing and managing of outdoor spaces, and highlights the way that landscape architecture makes an important contribution to developing greener communities.
The term «utestemme» is Norwegian and refers to the loud voice one typically uses with when being outdoors. The exhibition design is a loud interpretation of a traditionally quiet discipline, and explores both our physical and emotional relationship to landscape architecture.
The exhibition design challenges the physical limits of the museum spaces and extends both inside and outside of the museum. In the middle of the main room, a green tinted pinewood labyrinth is constructed in a way that allows visitors to slowly hike the sloping path and explore the exhibited pieces.
The walk ignites a feeling of being outdoors while still being inside the museum, and visitors are given the opportunity to experience the space in a new, three-dimensional way. The installation presents a new way of using the museum, while at the same time respecting the inherent qualities established by the plan layering of the existing architecture.
A Loud and Dynamic Design System
The exhibition’s graphic identity is based on the idea of the outdoor voice – the dynamic, auditory sensation that progresses from weak to strong, soft to loud – and visualizes the act of making one’s voice heard when being out in the open.
This sensation has been picked up and exaggerated graphically in the exhibition’s custom type and corresponding color palette – the latter spanning from a noisy yellow to a dominant green, contrasted by the bold, alternating letters. This evokes a feeling that the typography literally screams at the visitor without making a sound.
A Thought-Provoking Exhibition
The exhibition draws our attention to the thinking behind the design of the many public spaces, parks and gardens that were planned and designed several decades ago. It manifests how landscape projects are not a static design delivery, but ones that continue to grow and flourish for many years after their formal completion.
The exhibition design explores the notion that landscape architecture is a play of perspectives; foreground, middle ground and background.
The Sensory Room
The most secluded space of the museum is an original bank vault that has been transformed into a space for the senses for the exhibition. The space transports the visitor beyond the thick walls through a light and sound installation that alludes to ever-shifting seasons and corresponding landscapes. In the vault, visitors can sit on pillows on the floor and experience each season through the shifting sound themes, composed for the exhibition by artist Rebekka Karijord.
Entering Through the Forest
In the entrance lobby, visitors walk through an installation inspired by the Japanese word “komorebi”, which describes the play of light and shadow as sunlight filters through trees and vegetation. The installation is constructed to lower the threshold for entering the classically designed building and to prepare the visitor for what’s to come.
Outside the pavilion the spinney will undergo a slow process of growth and blossoming during the exhibition period, through strategically planted flowers that contrast with and play on the architecture. In this way, the exhibition is in constant development just like the projects it is displaying.
The exhibition has been curated by Professor in Landscape Architecture and Snøhetta Partner Jenny B. Osuldsen and runs until September 1st, 2019.