The presentation had to be designed in such a way that the church could continue to be used for a wide variety of concerts, meetings, etc. That is why we brought the chapels, which had fallen into disuse, back to life and left the large central space empty. Themes are depicted in the chapels of the church, which are all related to the Laurenskerk and Rotterdam. Each chapel has been given its own content and form and is therefore completely different in each case. A collection of spatial and story-driven installations allow the walls to speak about the present and past, about life and death, about the bombing and reconstruction of the city, as well as its silence. “The layout has added a new layer to the austere reconstruction architecture of the church.
Recharging the church
Laurenskerk, Rotterdam (NL)
The Laurenskerk (Church of Saint Lawrence) is the oldest building in the city of Rotterdam. For many citizens of Rotterdam, the church is the symbol of pre-war and post-war Rotterdam. The church was largely destroyed in the Second World War and rebuilt after the war, therefore many of the visual narrative elements have disappeared from the interior. Our task was to bring the stories that are contained within the building to the surface once again.
In the ambulatory of the church, a series of triptychs were made, each of which depict an important holiday for one of the many religions in the city. From Christmas, Holi-Phagwah, Eid al-Fitr (Sugar Feast) to Passover and Eid al-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice).
“The layout has added a new layer to the austere reconstruction architecture of the church. It has not become an exhibition in the space, rather the space has become the exhibition.”
The design of the exhibition raises questions and invites deeper investigation. A special ‘Bible’ developed by us, an audiobook that each visitor receives at the start of the exhibition, provides the stories at the different chapels and if you want more information, you can look that up herein. In this way, stories and information are separated from each other. The audio stories allow various people from the present and past to speak, guiding you through subjects like ‘How do I become a saint?’, the Iconoclastic Fury of 1566, dying, bombing and charity, or offer you the chance to hear music from the beautiful organs of the church.
D&AD Award 2011
Exhibition design, shortlisted
International Design Excellence Awards 2011
Designpreis Deutschland 2012
Inside Award 2011
Creative Re-use, shortlisted
FX International Interior Design Award London 2011
Public Space, winner
IIDA Global Excellence Awards 2011
Cultural/Institutional/Educational, honorable mentioned
WAN Interior Awards 2011
Culture and Civic, shortlisted