We design narrative spaces. Spaces that inspire, move you and stay with you. We design for cultural institutions, public space and companies.
What we do
Do you have a story to tell?
Then let’s get started!
Creating a spatial experience involves a lot more than a design alone. From strategy to production: at Kossmanndejong, we control the entire process. We tackle the project holistically. Everything is interconnected and that contributes to the quality of the result.
We are all-round thinkers and all-round creators with infectious enthusiasm. We bring together the right expertise for each assignment; from our own firm, the client, and the field.
This is how we do it
We want to know everything about you. Which story do you want to tell? Together, we discuss the available resource, time, expertise, and ambition level. How sustainable can we make it? What do we want to achieve? When do we consider the project a success? If it’s up to us, we'd like to go the extra mile.
We experiment with the wildest ideas. We open, turn upsidedown, scrutinize, connect things and search for social relevance. Why here and why now? We view the assignment as part of a bigger picture. Together. Only co-creation is creation for Kossmanndejong.
Every assignment is different, so the team also differs per project. We involve the most renowned specialists to lift your project to a higher level. Specialists from the client, our studio and our network of trusted partners.
We define the guiding principles for narrative structure and visitor experience in a Concept Design. We identify and list what is needed to achieve this. We sketch ideas and make a rough outline of the plan. It is the foundation upon which the following phase is built.
We develop everything into a beautiful and layered plan. In a Preliminary Design and in a Definitive Design thereafter. We estimate building and production costs and plan the process. We deepen the design, develop content, work out spatial and graphic designs and prepare them for production.
The best contractors and technicians set to work for us. The designs take shape; things are built, printed and audio-visual productions are made. We direct the process, test important elements, monitor the quality and ensure that everything comes together.
As soon as the visitors enter, the exhibition comes to life. We define together if everything turned out as we imagined and we fine-tune if necessary. The result is a beautiful project that everyone is proud of!
How we see it
We create a three-dimensional narrative that touches visitors and sparks their imagination; that provokes thoughts. They start a journey of discovery, in the space and within themselves. The story becomes their story. Because no person is the same, we build each narrative in layers, so everyone is engaged. Each time this requires a unique mix of collection, installations, multimedia, interactivity, sound, light, text and art.
Form and content are attuned to each other in such a way that everything, down to the smallest detail, is interconnected. An exhibition is not a static arrangement of objects to us. Space is not the scenery – the space is the theatre play itself. An immersive experience.
Our rules of play
A spatial narrative is a story that unfolds in space and time. A journey in which the visitors intuitively choose their path. A story does not have to be linear and multiple stories can be told simultaneously. Every visit is unique, but because of the cohesion in the design, everyone understands the essence.
We’re not all the same. People differ in terms of character, age, background, gender, knowledge, and interests. Through layered stories and perspectives, we create spaces where every visitor feels personally engaged. Whoever wants to can dig deeper. But someone can also have a meaningful experience in half an hour.
Good novels, films, and plays have an arc of tension. That also applies to a narrative space. The visitor is the main character. With our narrative techniques, we immediately draw the visitor into the story and we ensure that spaces and setups work as ‘page-turners’. Strategic moments of pause and reflections reinforce this effect.
We make contact. Encounters contribute to a sense of connection. They are an opportunity to open up thoughts with new perspectives; to set something in motion. Often, these are the moments that stay with you the longest. That is why we invite interaction – with friends and strangers. We don’t take visitors at face value and challenge them to enter into discussion with each other.
Visitors are active participants. They bring the space to life. Interaction must be simple, intuitive and inviting. We provide the conditions for a safe space where people dare to venture out of their comfort zone. A place that provokes playfulness and experimentation. Building, doing, and touching, and it’s OK to laugh. There must be energy aplenty!
A narrative environment is only successful if it touches your mind and heart – if it offers a combination of information and emotive, sensory impressions. A well-balanced composition of precision and ambiguity, poetry and factuality, where ideas and emotions are given free rein. Due to the new insights and feelings, the experience stays with you.
Everyone has the imagination to get lost in a story. That imagination must, however, be triggered. In a narrative space, you enter a world where reality and imagination reinforce each other. Poetic elements like metaphors and abstractions are an essential part of that. They increase the magic of the ‘suspension of disbelief’.
We are critical of society and try to push boundaries. However, we don’t operate in a vacuum. In what type of place are we? In what time? What’s on the mind of our visitors? How does our story relate to the bigger picture? We like to zoom out, connect with the context and, above all, find the relevance.
Concept and visualisations
Evaluation and impact assessment
Catalogues and publicity
Script writing and storyboarding
Graphic design / DTP
In ‘De Narratieve Ruimte’ the field of activity is approached from three angles: theoretical-philosophical, from daily design practice, and cultural-historical. It is intended not only for designers but also for curators and critics, for people from the world of theater and architecture, in short, for anyone interested in the expressiveness of space. The book reveals the dramaturgical and scenographic principles of exhibition as a narrative space and provides inspiration for a new approach to exhibition design.
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