Museum beyond walls
a collaboration with the Nobel Museum
Konstfack University, Stockholm:Sweden, 2013
The preliminary analysis of the Nobel Museum showed a dominant presence of foreign visitors, missing numbers of Sweden and Stockholm-based visitors, thus lacking the essence of Swedish and local identity. Intending to set itself as a crucial site in Stockholm in light of the design of the new Nobel Center, the Nobel Museum required the presence of Stockholm residents to re-create its personality. Using the core ideals of the Nobel Prize, the project proposed a vision of a museum of the future, in which the space acts as a platform for the production of creativity, where its visitors become the creators of new knowledge along with the laureates.
With the objectives to create a participatory experience for all visitors, the project aimed at indexing the Noble Museum among the cultural spaces in Stockholm, engaging a new audience focusing on the locals, and creating a stronger connection between the prize and the space.
During the design research phase, creativity became a recurrent theme, both within the mission of the museum and with the laureate. As such, it began to be explored as a tangible medium, in order to understand how it has been relevant to the Nobel Museum, how it has been perceived by the laureates for their discoveries, and why it is a fundamental human compulsion that distinguishes us from other species.
Following the lead of the 2004 Nobel Prize winners Prof. Richard Axel and Prof. Linda B. Buck on their discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system, creativity materialized in the form of a smell that could be utilized in the museum space itself. The idea was to use our own sense of smell to create a memory of place, specifically that of the Nobel Museum. The result of the project was a participatory creative process, during which the participants were invited to understand the components of chemistry, physics, medicine, literature, peace and economics through creativity and smell.
For the experience at the Nobel Museum, anonymous (yet recognizable) fragrances were locked in containers that participants could open and smell, deciding what they personally believed creativity smells like, and creating their own combination and intensity of the smell of creativity.