“The skilful use of lighting and color, makes the antique exhibits appear in a new light in the truest sense of the word. The interesting exhibition concept challenges old perceptions and replaces them with a refreshingly new staging that captivates with beauty and lightness.”
– Statement of the jury
The award for excellent design
The exhibition ‘Dying in Beauty – The World of Pompeii and Herculaneum’ at the Drents Museum Assen, designed by NorthernLight, has been awarded with the German Design Award 2024. The exhibition is honoured as “Winner” for in the category Excellent Architecture, acknowledging outstanding and exemplary design achievements.
The German Design Awards are the premium prize of the German Design Council. With its global scope and international appeal, it is one of the most prestigious awards in the design landscape across all industries. Since 2012, the German Design Awards have been identifying key design trends, presenting them to a broad public and honouring them. Extraordinary submissions in product design, communications design and architecture are selected each year. Read more at the German Design Award website.
Ancient aesthetics – hyper digital
How to find urgency and originality in an exhibition about a much covered topic like Pompeii? That was the design challenge for the exhibition. The solution was to focus on lightness, on beauty – and on the link with modern day life. Something that Pompeii exhibitions until now did not do. This has resulted in an exhibition that shines a very contemporary light on the beauty of Pompeii and Herculaneum. ‘Dying in Beauty’, with highlights from the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Napels and the Parco Archeologico Ercolano in Herculaneum, focuses on life before the devastating volcanic eruption. On the art and beauty with which the inhabitants surrounded themselves. On display are more than one hundred archaeological art treasures, including colourful frescoes, marble statues, a bronze fountain and golden jewelry.
In our visual and spatial design, we use a contemporary aesthetic to showcase the objects and bring them into the foreground, making them relatable to modern day life. The design refers to ideals of beauty that have its origin in ancient time – and last until today. “By that it transfers the context of beauty into the now. The lighting and scenography combines ancient aesthetics with a hyper digital feel.” Lead Creative Maximilian Pecher explains. Think of nowadays pixels and QR codes, which are just another invention that dates back to roman mosaics and ideals of beauty and order. Think of the bright colours that were just as much a part of Pompeii, as they are of the current hyper digital Vaporwave aesthetic.
An inspiring cooperation
The project team of NorthernLight (Maximilian Pecher, Peter Slavenburg, Hagen Mumm, Andrea Veldkamp) would like to thank the Drents Museum for the opportunity to design this challenging exhibition. A personal thank you to curators Bastiaan Steffens and Eva van Diggelen for their inspiring support of our daring design approach. A big thank you also to production company IRIS, lighting designers 50LUX, Yellowbloom for composing the soundtrack and many others that were involved in production and installation of the exhibition. Photos by Sake Elzinga, Drents Museum.
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