Barcelona, Spain. "Born. Memories d'un Mercat" is a permanent exhibition recently installed in the El Born Centre Cultural. This famous market building, designed by Antoni Rovira i Trias, was closed in 1971 and re-born in 2013, revealing archeological findings discovered during the renovation.
The exhibition designers used two things to unify the market story with the current architecture. The slatted siding, and a stencil version of the center's font. The two ideas combine naturally in "labeling" and wooden market crates, which are piled outside the entry.
Also outside the entry, the idea of memory is introduced with a mirror enclosed alcove containing an old market cart. Like memories, the outside form may disappear, but the inside meaning can go on forever.
Wooden crates and stencil fonts are cliche, but in this case they are truly appropriate and treated beautifully. Added to this is the colorful imagery of produce, with it's (timeless) vitality.
Crates form the enclosure walls and seating. The produce adds the color and life.
Crate walls are softened with muslin on one side, allowing bits of light to come through.
The big scale of the floor produce draws you in.
In this open area, the produce images are actual size and elevated to table tops (surrounding intimate story monitors). The floor has a cobbled treatment. The perfect choice of photo mural integrates with the building seen through the window. A sense of scale, contrast, and design restraint all come together here.
The story of the building's architecture is in a slightly separated space, using scaffolding structure and red curtains.
The main space is flanked by a large mural at either end, scaled to resonate with the building. The effect is indoors out, human scale, enlivened by sound and bits of color.
Along the back wall, a detailed market history follows a sequence of letter shaped (B O R N) windows.
Probably to liven things up, in relation to the produce, bright color is used in some of the text blocks.
Historic photos were carefully chosen and placed. Three stand up 3D photo stations, are comfortably big and working well with mirrors.
The exhibition feels seamless, from the inside story to the outside building. A clean sensibility for history.
Outside the exhibition space, a few exhibition signs are "delivered" along the walkways.
Finally, there is a public memory collection station near one building entry
Kiosk with instructions for submitting photos and videos
The busy display of hanging photos nearby helps stimulate ideas for contributions.