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Transformative
Journey

Longing for Mecca

Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden (NL) / Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam (NL)

For almost a quarter of the world’s population, Mecca is the place you must visit in your life. The exhibition ‘Longing for Mecca: The Pilgrim’s Journey’ in the Tropenmuseum takes you on a pilgrimage (hajj). Step by step you are initiated into the world of the hajj. This exhibition brings together more than 300 compelling objects from important Islamic collections.

Location
Leiden (NL) / Amsterdam (NL)
Client
Museum Volkenkunde / Tropenmuseum
Year
2014 / 2019
Surface
600 m2
Status
Temporary
Role
Spatial design, Graphic design, Art direction (with The British Museum en Tropenmuseum)
Team
Matt Vermeulen
Light design
HeinzLoopstra
Interactives
WeMakeVR
AV
Invision, Just Focus, Mudware, Tropenmuseum
Production
Brandwacht en Meijer, TARS Visuele Presentatie
The longing

Upon entering, Dutch hajj travellers share their personal experiences in an intimate setting, by means of video portraits. Triggered by the ‘longing for Mecca’ you get practical tips for your preparation. An infographic shows the ‘facts and figures’ of the hajj. Photos and maps depict the journey, the different routes and means of transportation pilgrims use to get to the collection point at Djedda.

“Each space represents a phase in the journey. It evokes a completely different atmosphere through the use of light, colour, collection pieces, film, sound and interviews with hajj travellers”.

Matt Vermeulen

Designer at KDJ

Your spiritual journey

In the room that represents Mecca you will discover the rituals of the hajj. You see a projection of a crowd of people performing the most important ritual; walking around the Kaäba (tawaf). The next room is dark and serene, and brings you closest to the ‘Mecca feeling’. With authentic cloths, once part of the Kaäba, a respectful setting has been created. The last step in the pilgrimage is to collect souvenirs on the colourful bazaar.

Sustainable design

We designed the first edition of the exhibition for the Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden. After that we adapted the exhibition for the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. This is a fine example of a sustainable, flexible form of exhibition design.

Awards

Museum Prijs Zuid-Holland 2014

Winner

SEGD Global Design Awards 2014

Exhibitions, Merit award

International Design Awards 2014

Winner

London International Creative Competition 2013

Finalist