ARTIS, Amsterdam (NL)
ARTIS, Amsterdam (NL)
In Micropia the invisible world of microorganisms is on display. Micropia is located in the historical Members’ Rooms (Ledenlokalen, 1870) along the new Artis Square, which is part of ARTIS. The design commission comprised the creation of an exhibition concept and the actual installation of Micropia. Micropia contains a lot of eye openers, including the fact that humans wouldn’t be able to live without microorganisms and that by far most life forms on earth are invisible.
Starting point was the display of living microorganisms and to bring the importance of microorganisms for humans closer to home. In collaboration with ART+COM, a range of media installations allow visitors to see, explore and experience the world of microorganisms in different ways, through which they themselves become part of the exhibition. We have aimed for a balance between experience and knowledge.
Micropia has a bright ground floor and a dark upper floor. The latter is a kind of ‘inverted laboratory’, dark and mysterious rather than white and sterile. The dark environment allows the displays with the microorganisms to shine extra brightly. Special 3D microscopes were developed to make the invisible (to the human eye) life visible. By way of a joystick connected to the microscope visitors can navigate through the 3D image.
The end of this dark space hosts Micropia’s beating heart: the laboratory. This is where technicians grow microorganisms and keep them alive. Sound designer Peter Flamman has designed Micropia’s soundscape, which enhances the feeling of having entered an unknown and magical universe. It interconnects the various elements and contributes to the overall experience.
Interactivity is not an end in itself, but is used to better convey and enhance the experience. Visitors can for instance be subject to a body scan, in which they not only handle the interface, but are also the subject of the experience, through which they can get to know their own microorganisms. It is likely they will never see themselves and the world in the same way ever again following a visit to Micropia.
Micropia was inaugurated on 30 September by Her Royal Highness Queen Máxima.
concept, spatial design: Kossmann.dejong, ART+COM Studios
light: Simon Corder
film and animations: Bind en Sterk, HollandCentraal, PlusOne, Temponaut, Wim van Egmond
photo material: Natura Artis Magistra, Wim van Egmond, ANP, Dennis Kunkel Microscopy Inc., Shutterstock, Stephen Gschmeissner
soundscape: Peter Flamman
realisation: Bruns BV
architecture: Sprenger von der Lippe
- Project of Influence 2017 by The Best in Heritage - 2017
- Winner DASA Award for most innovative European Museum - 2016
- Winner Kenneth Hudson Award of the European Museum of the Year Award - 2016
- Special Mention German Design Award - 2015
- Highly Commended Museums+Heritage Awards, cat. International - 2015
- Finalist SBID International Design Award - 2015
- Shortlisted FX International Interior Design Awards - 2015
- Honoree Best of Year Interior Design Award - 2015