The Zoo Emmen is one of the Netherland’s major tourist attractions, a success based on combining leisure with education. Natural, open-air animal enclosures complement several natural history museums where visitors learn in a playful, creative way.
The Zoo’s administrators demanded ‘outstanding’ and gave us the resources to deliver. We enjoyed a long-term, exceptional, relationship with them over many years, which included the creation of many permanent and temporary exhibitions enjoyed by millions of visitors.
When building exhibits, ranging from dinosaurs to DNA, time to Tuaregs, sperm whales to rats, we got very creative in avoiding display cases and textboards. For example, to hear the skeleton’s audio story you had to ‘phone-a-fossil’.
We always looked for ways to express the subject in the design motif, like spirals everywhere in the DNA exhibit, waves above the sperm whales, a spinning bird carrousel so the birds ‘fly by. Smaller fossils are displayed in a case within the larger fossil, to give each bone a context within the skeleton as a whole.
We also often added an anthropological angle alongside zoological information, for instance, the elephant’s religious significance as an added factual layer.