Contributed by Fabian Jean Villanueva of Base Design.
In May 2011, Munich’s Haus der Kunst — a non-collecting public museum for contemporary art — decided to redevelop and redesign its entire communications system and visual identity, including the logo and website.
Based on the idea of elasticity, Base’s proposal was for a concept that focused on the qualities of flexibility, resilience, and adaptability. The visual system was initially founded on a morphing wordmark with irregular spacing inside the letters, which in turn sought to address the strong Neoclassical features of the architecture through the malleability of the identity system.
The building’s facade is not elastic at all, reflected by the (deceptively) fixed start position of the living logo, this rigidity evaporates as soon as the logo starts moving, symbolizing Haus der Kunst’s flexible and adventurous programming. The design therefore emphasizes the dynamic programming of contemporary art presented in all its different formats. The new visual system is thus like an elastic band.
“The relationship between form and content, between a solid, unyielding shell outside and the greatest elasticity inside, is what should characterize the work of Haus der Kunst.”
— OKWUI ENWEZOR, DIRECTOR, HAUS DER KUNST
The proposal included three key ideas:
- It portrays Haus der Kunst as a “Curiosity Sherpa” that will guide an eclectic audience through a wide variety of cultural fields.
- A tagline, “Stretch your view,” which will serve as an invitation to discover, as well as an expression of the philosophy and curatorial process championed by Haus der Kunst.
- The concept of a “container” aims at grouping all sorts of artifacts and cultural manifestations together and triggering interactions.
The new visual system includes a completely redesigned website and a new navigational system, and aims to bring both the container and elasticity ideas into constructive tension. The concept of the container will be directly applied to the structure of the website. This will be a cornerstone of Haus der Kunst’s expansion of its relationship with its global audience.
The website condenses all of Haus der Kunst’s activities into a responsive tool, to strengthen its visibility on a global scale, and to address its committed, passionate, and curious audience. The new website is not simply a site that provides the public with information about exhibitions, events, guided tours, or the kids’ program It is, rather, a portal and entry into a virtual Haus der Kunst. This means that you will not only find an answer to the question: what is happening at the moment or what will be happening next month? The new portal offers much more than that: you will be able to contribute to the evolving content and to customize your choices.
The website also aims at making visible the knowledge that Haus der Kunst has generated over the past decades, through its work on exhibitions, projects, publications, and events. A crucial target of the new website is making this knowledge available and accessible, bringing together varied contents and formats (text, audio, video, and photography) from multiple sources in a multilayered structure.
View more brand identity work on the Base website.
Base elsewhere on Identity Designed: Mont des Arts.