Kossmann.dejong has transformed the 800m2 exhibition space at the Maritime Museum, which hosted its last exhibition MainPort Live, into an impressive drilling platform where visitors imagine themselves far out at sea. In this interactive, multimedia experience, visitors get up-close-and personal with living and working in the offshore industry.
With its contemporary programming, the Maritime Museum wanted to acquaint the public with one of the most innovative industries in the Netherlands – the offshore sector. So, how do you tell the story of something that happens beyond our sight, far out at sea and deep under water, and in such a way that appeals to diverse visitors from children to veterans of maritime industries? Together with the museum Kossmann.dejong conceived a concept that brings visitors to a realistic platform out at sea, and into the shoes of offshore personnel. Through interactive challenges, impressive scale models of ships and more than 90 films and animations, visitors learn everything about energy production at sea, both now and in the future. With the increasing urgency worldwide to transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources, the story of inventive research on sustainable energy generation has also been integrated into the experience.
To deal with capacity, the exhibition space is divided into four different environments; visitors are guided into the experience in groups of twelve. Thematically the content is structured into main and sub-themes including energy exploration, production, transportation and renewable energy. Beginning their journey in the introduction space, visitors then encounter the interactive Energy Monitor to understand the importance of energy for their daily lives. The QR code on the entrance ticket authorises access to the Safety Room – here the adventure really kicks off with a safety training session. The use of safety helmets and vests and authentic offshore elements such as a watertight door enables a uniquely realistic experience. After landing on the huge steel platform, a 360-degree projection of the sea unfolds, complete with a soundscape of crashing waves and integrated animations that stimulate the senses. Nine interactive games on the platform invite visitors to undergo an assessment to discover their suitability for working in the offshore sector – they can attempt to land a helicopter, operate an underwater robot or maintain a ship’s position with the help of satellites.
Accompanied by dynamic light effects and splashing sounds, a lift then brings them 3km deep to the ocean floor. While visitors on the platform above dive into the content and are inspired into action, a mysterious underwater experience is revealed below, with illusions created using one of Europe’s largest Pepper’s ghosts. Finally visitors return ashore for stabilisation in the Decompression Chamber, designed as a shower/cloakroom. Here visitors are encouraged to think about the future of the offshore industry and vote on the best idea to generate energy more sustainably. With their assessment results in hand and encouraged with good intentions about their own energy use, visitors make the journey home. There, the museum experience continues through the viewing and sharing of the test results and photos on social media.
From the spatial construction to graphic design – Kossmann.dejong designed everything in the Offshore Experience right down to the tiniest details. Thanks to the huge ambitions of the stakeholders involved – from light, sound and media designers to the many sponsors and main contractor Bruns – this complex project could be completed within a tight timeframe. Created under Kossmann.dejong’s direction, this immersive experience excites visitors of all ages, and is just as impressive and compelling as the offshore sector itself.
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