Origin Studios co-led the permanent exhibition design for the Canadian War Museum, creating immersive and compelling exhibits about the military events that shaped this country’s history. Themes range from the prehistoric to the contemporary, involving intense and beautiful narratives from both home and abroad. The approach to story telling is layered and often dense, in order to ensure the weighty subject matter is accessibly conveyed. In this elaborate and complex exhibit hall, artifacts range from the massive to the delicate—from intimidating military vehicles, to precious medals and fragile archival documents. In designing the spaces we introduced a deliberate interplay between the graphic panels and the building architecture. The result is a thoughtfully composed, cohesive series of exhibitions where shape and structure influences the visitor experience. While some of the exhibit spaces are inviting, comfortable and harmonious—others are tense, combative and uncomfortable.
The museum and its displays serve as a tribute to all who’ve fought for our freedom, as such we felt it imperative to share as many stories as the walls could hold. The challenge and triumph came in doing so respectfully, without compromising the intensely personal and emotional aspects within. As a result, the design plan accommodates multiple levels of information carefully arranged in thoughtful hierarchy. The exhibitions boast well over two kilometres of graphics, 2000 photographs and more than 250,000 words—a visual celebration, and undoubtedly our most complex exhibit project to date.
Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, ON, 2001 – 2005
Exhibit Space: 76,000 sq. ft.