The exhibition "Rotasjon" (Rotation) at Valdres Folk Museum in Fagernes, Norway, comprises an extensive collection of essential Norwegian heritage pieces, showcasing beautiful national costumes (“bunad”) and folk costumes dating 150 years back, local handicraft traditions and more.
Snøhetta developed the interior and graphic design concepts to create the best possible framework for the exhibition, minimizing the effect of space constraints and ensuring focus on the exhibition’s narrative and visitor experience.
“Rotation” comprises three separate exhibitions: A temporary exhibition and two permanent ones. The permanent exhibitions are an exhibition of costumes and objects from the Norwegian Institute of Bunad and Folk Costume, and an exhibition of objects from Valdres Folk Museum's collections.
The final selection of exhibited costumes and objects and developing the exhibition design was done in close collaboration with the knowledgeable expert teams at the institute, and the lighting design was created together with lighting consultants to ensure minimal impact of visible lighting fixtures in the showcases.
Leading ladies as centrepiece
The first exhibition displays the beautiful national costumes (“bunad”) and folk costumes dating 150 years back. This exhibition focuses on the work of 10 women through history who have all been important for the development of the bunad tradition in Norway which in recent years has exploded in popularity. Among these women is HRH Queen Sonja of Norway, who has lent out one of her costumes to this exhibition. The permanent object collection on show has a rich variety of handcrafted furniture, instruments, tools, clothing, textiles and jewelry, most of these artefacts with origin in Valdres.
Running the entire perimeter of the “bunad” room is a horizontal wall frieze of plywood with integrated showcases, guiding visitors through the costumes and objects particular to the work of the 10 women. Each woman is presented on a vertical board with an individual color captured from a traditional palette. The typography is set in bold and contemporary colors as a complement to echo the often expressive contrast found in the embroideries of the national costumes and thus showing the mix of old and new so central to the vivid tradition of the “bunad”.
The main emphasis for the interior concept of both exhibitions was to simplify the impact of the rooms themselves. Somewhat limited in size, it was imperative to highlight and bring focus to the narrative, costumes, and artefacts. A sparse material palette of birch plywood and black Valchromat keeps these in focus.
The adjacent room with a permanent and diverse collection of objects, instruments, and costumes, has a long black display cabinet creating compartments of different sizes. The organic flow through this room was intended to make a natural division of the different themes in the collection. In addition, wall hung showcases and niches give space to additional categories of artefacts.
All graphical design items, from the introduction wall in the foyer through all the information signs, are created as an integral part of the exhibition. A book on the national costumes is due next year made with much the same approach to the topic, a mixture of tradition and contemporary input to the costumes.