Exhibition Design

What is the Netherlands. 14 entries to the World Expo
26.04.2015 – 23.08.2015
Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, NL
Curator and Concept: Stephan Petermann
Spatial design and Concept: Marieke van den Heuvel

The German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk has described the World Expo as a place where two extremes meet: capitalism and lyricism. The national presentations offer a reflection of the current situation of a country while giving expression to the ambitions for a future stadium of innovation. Wat is Nederland presents over a century of dialogue between modernity and nationality, economy and culture, business interests and speculation about the future. Sometimes the entries were profound and exotic, sometimes modest and humble, experimental or downright funny – but always under the heading ‘Dutch’.
The concentric floorplan, starting point for the spatial design, was inspired by the Exposition Universelle in Paris 1867 (by Le Play), where a double hierarchy of nations and subjects shaped the ellipsoidal building.
The steel construction of the spatial design forms its own pavilion, in which the 14 entries each have their own ‘room’. Build from steel, an often used material on World Expo sites, the opposing walls reflect the most Bureaucratic and the most Lyric moment of that year.
The heart of the exhibition is a round white platform, tabula rasa and the main point for orientation. Above it hangs a 23 bell carillon, the ever-present guest of the Dutch pavilions.

In collaboration with –
Construction: Claus Wiersma with Landstra&deVries
Graphic design: Lu Liang
Model design: OMA (Cedric van Parys, Laurence Bolhaar and Emile Estourgie)
Films: Sophie van Leeuwen and Pieter-Bas van Wiechen, Frans Parthesius

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