The Dutch city of Almere was built on land reclaimed from a shallow sea bay in the Netherlands. This town was only founded in 1976, but since then the population has grown to 220,000. In order to attract visitors, government officials agreed that Almere needed a museum. This floating art pavilion serves as a test to develop ideas and has the potential for a full museum in the future.
The museum-to-be is called M. by Studio Ossidiana. M. was created as a floating pavilion on the grounds of Floriade Expo 2022.
Alessandra Covini and Giovanni Belloti, the founders of Studio Ossidiana, created a plan that “appeals to all the senses and refers to Almere’s tradition of pioneering and experimenting,” the designers say.
Further, the resulting pavilion is its own work of art. It even flows alongside the region’s extensive collections of land art, which have become part of the museum’s inaugural collection.
Moreover, M. was inspired by the sea that the province of Flevoland in the Netherlands replaced and by the Weerwater Lake where the pavilion floats. The design then includes three circles: The Port, The Stage, and The Observatory. The Port is a promenade in the shape of a ring on the water that visitors can walk on or sit on for outdoor programming. The ring is made from terrazzo using shells, mussels, clay and charcoal found in local soil.
The Stage is an island platform with a terrace that will drift in strong winds. The Observatory, located on the third circular platform, features two exhibition spaces. Meanwhile, the lightweight polycarbonate cylindrical facade reflects the outdoor scenery. Visitors’ silhouettes can be seen through the facade’s special openings. Such silhouettes create a performance art of a kind when visitors walk through.
The pavilion will also feature immersive art that includes visitors as participants in art production. The first expo will be NaturAlly: Wild Futures. NaturAlly features the work of five new artists who show their vision of the wild nature of the future. In addition, visitors can walk through trees on heels, travel to a pink underwater world, watch machines help birds build their nests and see a modern version of primordial soup outside on the terrace, according to the designers.
M. has also contributed to introducing art to the community through several downtown exhibits, including two stores converted into immersive art galleries and art projects in which visitors can contribute with paint by numbers to a huge mural depicting a green Almere of the future or wander through a maze filled with local art.
Nieuw Flevo Peil, a temporary interactive water sculpture on display in a lake in downtown Almere, was powered by heartbeats collected from residents of Flevoland. While collecting these heartbeats, participants were asked what makes their hearts beat faster. The answers to this question are used in artwork to be commissioned by M. in the near future.
Images via Studio Ossidiana