On view

Making Waves

Maritime Museum of Denmark

Museet for Søfart, Helsingør (DK)

The exhibition is a journey that begins with the universal longing for faraway lands and adventures at sea. A lighthouse projects dreamy footage of seafaring from the viewpoint of art and culture. Portholes have been converted into showcases. You can see the biased perceptions of sailors through objects such as the Le Male perfume bottle by Jean Paul Gaultier, erotic costumes, Lego pirate toys, Popeye the Sailor Man, and Donald Duck.

Helsingør (DK)
Museet for Søfart
5000 m2
Concept, Spatial design, Graphic design, Creative direction
Matt Vermeulen (lead), Herman Kossmann, Madeleine Swendimann, Wendy Snoek, Maaike van Keimpema, Michel de Vaan
Films and sound
De Aanpak
Rapenburg Plaza
Glascom, Iris Vormgeving, Engelbrecht (DK), Stouenborg (DK), Nielsen & Kromann (DK), Rikke Lange, Leach Colour (UK)
Cordura (DK)
Production lead
Anton Phil, Alexandra Damgaard
A very special building

Designed by the renowned Danish architecture practice BIG the museum is located under an old dry dock. During your visit, you will follow a linear route where the spaces change in height and width and take a different perspective at each turn. For the museum concept and exhibition design, we retained the quality of this spatial experience. As such the exhibition is a linear experience without partitions, and we left all the walls empty.

Spotlight on the container

The glorious maritime history of Denmark is explained through themes such as shipping, ports, fleets, war, trade, and globalization. It is put into context of the contemporary shipping industry worldwide. The connecting element in the exhibition is the concept of cargo. Stacks of goods illustrate the economic importance of the development of the shipping industry, also for the everyday consumer. The container, which led to economies of scale and standardization in shipping, is literally placed on a pedestal.

“Especially for the exhibition, we made a scale model of the world’s largest container ship, which was to be launched in China in the same year as the opening of the museum.”

Matt Vermeulen

Designer at KDJ

Place a tattoo and learn how to navigate

Learn new skills at one of the many ‘interactives’. Impressive three-dimensional film installations illustrate the different themes. Original footage from archives and private collections was unearthed for this purpose.


By interweaving many different perspectives on shipping, the exhibition appeals to a wide audience. You get an insight into the temptations of the port, life onboard and the skills needed at sea from the perspective of sailors, shipowners, captains and seamen’s wives. The lucrative role of shipping in times of war is also discussed.


German Design Award 2016


Luigi Micheletti Award 2015

Special Commendation

Design Week Awards 2014


World Interior Awards 2014

Museum/Exhibition Spaces, Longlisted

SBID Awards 2014

Public Space, finalist

International Design Awards 2014

Interior Design / Other, silver winner

FX Design Awards 2014

Exhibition Space, shortlisted

International Design and Communication Awards 2014

Best Scenography, silver winner