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Exciting visions of the future at the AIT- ArchitekturSalon in Munich: Glass and light are certain to play an important role in museums in the year 2020, also. Photo: SCHOTT/H.-R. Schulz

From an Empathetic Museum to a Flying Depot

15 European architects, lighting planners and exhibition designers presented their visions on the museum of the future.

Judith Schwarz

What will visitors expect to see when they visit a museum in the year 2020? And how will architects, light planners and exhibition designers be able to meet their expectations? An exhibition that took place at the AIT-Architektur­Salon Munich sought to answer these questions. 15 European architects, lighting planners, and exhibition designers presented their visions on the future of museums. They also described them in a book entitled ”The Museum Experience 2020”. The ideas came from a workshop that was held in Beijing that the SCHOTT Business Segment Architecture + Design had invited them to with support from the publisher AIT.
Photo: SCHOTT/H.-R. Schulz
”The museum, my friend, will help me as a visitor to select from a wide variety of information.” This is how the working group with the vision of ”The Empathetic Museum” views the future. According to their idea, the museum will be rearranged for each visitor. It will use a social network to register people’s individual knowledge levels, preferences and interests even before they visit the museum. Based on this information, the museum will recommend routes through its collections and won’t even show inappropriate exhibits.

The museum entitled ”Complementary Conditions” that another working group describes isn’t at all static either. ”The exhibition room itself becomes an exhibit, the viewer becomes part of the exhibition and the exhibition turns out to be a performance,” the members say in summarizing their idea.
Photo: SCHOTT/H.-R. Schulz
If, on the other hand, the vision of ”The Flying Depot” ever becomes reality, the outer shell of the museum will no longer bury the exhibits inside its interior. A special glass will enable the exhibits to communicate with the outside world on their own and attract curious passers-by. As if they were stored in a depot, visitors will initially find the exhibits in a seemingly disordered manner. Only at second glance will they discover the connections and stories behind them.

The ”All or Nothing” museum from the fourth working group also takes items out of their normal context. The visitor views the exhibits from ever new perspectives. One exhibit offers an initial impression: a chair is surrounded by five effect glasses from SCHOTT that make it look different on every side. As a supplier of ideas for museums, SCHOTT seeks to help architects, lighting planners and exhibition designers to realize their visions by offering a complete range of services – from consulting to installation.

”Glass can add volume or make things disappear completely. Glass can give something meaning or take on a meaning of its own. The museum of the year 2020 will undoubtedly be a museum that is glassier than anything being built today,” Dr. Dietmar Danner, Editor in Chief of the architecture magazine AIT, is convinced. Of course, certain intermediate steps will still need to be taken before the visions outlined in Munich become reality. Regardless of what the museum of the future actually looks like, individuality, spontaneity and a sense of surprise will certainly play a key role in it. <|
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Museum 2020