«Catalonia, Beyond the Sea», designed by Grup Transversal, the second phase of the permanent exhibition at the Barcelona Maritime Museum
Transversal created and designed the project and has been in charge of producing this large permanent exhibition covering more than 2,000 m2 and occupying two entire halls at these former shipyards. The exhibition reconstructs Catalonia's great maritime adventure with the Americas, from the 18th to the 20th century.
Along the same lines as the first phase of the permanent exhibition (“Dockyards and Galleys”), also designed by Transversal, the aim of this second exhibition is to provide visitors with an educational but also emotional experience of the three hundred years in Catalonia's history that are intimately linked to trade with the Americas and to sailing, a time when, without abandoning the Mediterranean, Catalonia opened up to the rest of the world. This period saw a boom in trade, shipbuilding and also sailing academies, created to prepare sailors for the long voyages required. Then the steam age arrived, the port was transformed and large shipping companies were set up... To explain all this, the exhibition combines stylised sets, holding the largest pieces from the collection, with a range of audiovisual and interactive resources. The result is a tour-experience (using immersive automatic audio guides) to help visitors learn about this great adventure.
The exhibition's design focuses on experiences, generating large visual settings for the big pieces (the immensity of the sea surrounding the large Catalan boat, mural photographs of La Maquinista surrounding a large machine); evocative reconstructions such as a classroom (with the students' seats and teachers taking a class via a large monitor, just in front of one of the exhibition's most attractive pieces, a model of the Barcelona frigate), the large Transatlantic room (with a system of pillars, curtains and a large audiovisual projection that help visitors feel like they're actually on a ship) and the reconstruction of a funnel from a steamship; as well as trompe-l'œil effects such as a curtain of thick sheets of transparent plastic, such as the kind found in modern warehouses, with a large ship printed on them at the entrance to the world of steam. The stylised sets also include the hold of a ship, showing the most important products traded with the Americas, including slaves. The first audiovisual space is also set up as a large ship which visitors enter to experience Catalonia's first great maritime adventure.
The exhibition's design aims to immerse visitors in Catalonia's maritime history, with sets that bring this world to life. The emotional approach taken by this museum project is highlighted by four audiovisuals: a projected hemisphere, a space that explains the adventures of maritime pioneers, the life of the great steamships recreated by a Transatlantic hall with a large mural projection, and a totally innovative multimedia resource to explain the 20th century and beyond, using a futuristic format. This space makes use of multimedia technology and dramatic effects, with pieces moving over a multi-projected background: two projection planes mirrored on four sides in order to multiply the space and, at the same time, interplay with the background projection on both planes, activating polarised panes of glass.
Finally, there are also three interactive games; three challenges for visitors to learn about sailing and how difficult it can be....