Category Design and Branding
Subcategory Brand environment and experience design
Entrant agency Velvet / JANKEN Wisespace
Client Estonian National Museum
Brand Estonian National Museum
Product/service Exhibition design
Release date 01.10.2015
Creative director Kristian Kirsfeldt
Creative director Anne Määrmann
Creative director Jan Graps
Creative director Ken Ruut
DESIGNER Kaarel Vahtramäe
DESIGNER Tim Martin Kenkmaa
DESIGNER Magnus Haravee
DESIGNER Sandra Goroško
DESIGNER Keijo Kraus
PRODUCER Mart Lankots

Estonian National Museum (ENM) is an ethnographic museum celebrating and conserving the rich culture and customs of Estonians and their kin throughout their turbulent history. Exhibition „Echo Of The Urals“ is dedicated to preserving the customs and culture of Fenno-Ugric peoples who are sparsely scattered around Russia, slowly assimilating into the local culture and losing touch with their identity and roots. It is our duty to help preserve the rich and varied culture for generations to come. The objective was to create to the best Finno-Ugric exhibition in the world.

The design concept of the exhibition started from the nature of the museum’s rich Finno-Ugric collection. It is focussed on the daily objects collected in the middle of the 20th century. Rather than displaying rows of exhibits, the designers weaved the tools, clothing, jewellery, hunting ware, plates, pots and weapons into a larger story of the lives led in Finno-Ugric villages and homes. The original items are shown in context created by full-scale houses built up within the museum space, large photo murals, sound environment, fairytales told via animations  and even specially created scent. The goal was to shine light on the areas of activities of Finno-Ugric men and women, and on how these activities give sense to people’s lives.

Echo of the Urals is one of two permanent exhibitions in the museum. The exhibition covers 1000 sqm on two floors connected by a pathway. The exhibition is located in the basement floor of the building and one of the aims was to make the visitor forget that by creating an immersive experience. Much effort was put into designing an immersive environment. Five 200 sqm photomurals were photographed on special expeditions and edited, creating realistic full-scale backgrounds that together with the exhibits and soundscape help create the atmosphere. A special soundscape was designed covering 1000 sqm, using 126 speakers to emit sound from 140 channels, to be in symbiosis with the rest of the display.

Estonian National Museum is located in Tartu, Estonia, built on top of an abandoned USSR army airfield. The Fenno-Ugric exhibition is set on two floors of the museum and spreading on 2345 sqm. The exhibition is made up of four separate rooms set in four different seasons and four different times of day. It has gathered more than 140 000 visitors from its opening in late 2016. The exhibition has won a lot of awards both in Estonia and abroad including the best Estonian permanent exhibition of the year and one of the best exhibition designs in Estonian marketing and design awards "Golden Egg".