Petőfi Literary Museum has opened a new museum education space, not just for kids, but adults, too. Overscribbled lines of poems and clean geometric shapes in a not too ostentatious yet still very lively space, where every design decision was made in the spirit of multifunctionality.
The new room used to serve as an exhibition space formerly, however now it is incorporated into the exhibition as a multifunctional community space, which is an important commitment from the museum. Interior designer Ildikó Mag worked on the project together with the construction team of New Edge Kft. and the museum education team of Petőfi Literary Museum – Anna Czékmány, Anna Kádár, Diána Sóki and Judit Kodolányi –, while Manuela Maráczy was in charge of the graphical elements of the space. They did not design a space for children specifically, their goal was rather to design a complex and versatile room, which can flexibly serve the purpose of the activities related to museum education and other related events at the same time, may it be a small group children seminar, a reading, screening, theater, movement session organized for adults or simply relaxation and contemplation about the exhibition visited. This way, the space had to fulfil contradicting functions, and this called for special spatial and furniture solutions.
The foldable, unique tables, adjustable ceiling elements, space-shaping projection screens, various building and storing plexiglass cubes, the mobile stair elements, pillows, stackable chairs all serve mobility, variability and the endless diversity of experiencing the space – told us Ildikó Mag, the designer in charge of the project.
The platform, for example, can serve as an auditorium, a comfy window nook suitable for relaxation but also as a stage or a container unit at the same time. The lighting of the recesses can be controlled, thus making them suitable for story-telling, and we can also find other elements helping installation in the room, including the adjustable elements hanging from the ceiling, on which we can place exhibition objects or even props. The seminars and professional presentations are facilitated by surfaces suitable for using magnets, as well as for writing and projecting on them.
Museums face quite different challenges today than at the beginning of their existence. As we must rethink the 19th century idea of the nation state, museums as important institutions of national representation must also reevaluate their priorities and exhibition practices, and they must do so in a manner not to lose the content and the attention which is becoming harder to maintain in today’s digital society. With its inclusive and interactive exhibitions, Petőfi Literary Museum has been taking major steps towards an operation based on public participation for years, and one of the milestones of the process is the new space. This thought recurs in the space visually, as well: for example on the wallpapers designed by Manuela, where the lines of Himnusz, the Hungarian national anthem and Szózat well known by the nation today are displayed in their original condition, full of corrections and scribbles.
In addition to the hand-written signs, fine shadings resolve the rigid geometric shapes, and the pattern set appearing on the wall and the door of the container furniture also echoes on the pillows. Manuela, – the designer in charge of the brand Manuela kids design – stepped out of her comfort zone by having to adjust her graphic designs to a space.
Everyone was extremely professional and quick, the communication between us was brilliant. I rarely feel that everyone has the same goal: to complete this room in the quickest and best possible way based on our knowledge. Everyone gave their 100% – added Manuela about their collaboration.
The first phase of the project started back in 2018. This wasn’t the first project when Ildikó Mag worked with the construction team of New Edge and the workers of Petőfi Literary Museum, as previously they also worked together on the Arany 200 on the bus mobile exhibition.
Design: Ildikó Mag | Web
Photos: Ildikó Mag; Valter Berecz | Web