100 Balken und 1 Pilz – Exhibition Design

The transformative movement of social and economical practice towards a truly sustainable future rises from the bottom. Its creators are not superior change makers, but beautifully regular humans whose ideas need to be seen and thought ahead by everybody.

100 Balken und 1 Pilz is an exhibition design for ökoRAUSCH Think Tank. Originally created for the ökoRAUSCH exhibition 2020 at the MAKK museum, its architecture, light concept and exhibit areas can also be used for future exhibitions. The design is completely modular and easily repairable by hand. Wooden beams and square platforms grown out of mycelium can be arranged to build a variety of forms to meet the individual demands of the locality and the exhibited objects.

The exhibition is showcasing current development in socio-economic transformation. Since the movement can only grow and successfully reshape society, if received positively, the exhibition design sought to create an atmosphere of community and curiosity. Ultimately getting people to engage and explore the transformation process themselves, to feel their own responsibility and power in the matter.

Sunlight is creating versatile shadows, that visually extend the archaic network structure. The individually placeable lamps, also made out of wood and mycelium, allow for targeted spotlight. ökoRAUSCH is working in close cooperation with Alexianer Werkstätten GmbH, a workshop that employs mostly people with disabilities and usually uses the more basic woodworking tools. Thus the exhibition was designed to their capabilities while also being affordable.

The exhibition lights also meet this demand: Consisting out of only 8 parts, of which 7 are available at local hardware stores. The lampshade is to be grown out of mycelium, that the Alexianer Werkstätten GmbH can grow itself.

The wiring is running along freely besides the beams. Using clever placing, cable binders and a bright orange color, the otherwise often disturbing cables are becoming a design element, which underlines the playful character of the exhibition structures and thus minimizes the danger of tripping over them. Furthermore the placing of the cables, same as the placing of the wooden beams, create a root-like network between all the exhibition-structures and hence visualizes the importance of networking in social and economical transformation.

Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus. While usually the fruiting body is visible above ground, its mycelium is spread vastly in and on the soil. By transmitting electric signals, countless of little arms work as an information exchange network. When put into a form filled with substrate, oyster fungus will grow in the shape of the container filled with the substrate. Simple objects can easily be created, like the exhibition platforms or lampshades. By interrupting the fungus growth through a single intense heating, a material ist created, that is very lightweight, fire resistant, highly insulating and easily recyclable.

The exhibition explores the transformation process towards a sustainable society on an equal footing. Where museums often display their objects behind glas and at a consistent and comfortable hight, 100 Balken und 1 Pilz seeks inclusive interaction and touch. It characterizes the transformation towards a sustainable society as a desirable and open minded, yet sometimes uncomfortable process, that thrives only if visitors get involved. A feeling of empowerment to actively take part in this bottom up process, that requires both caution and bravery, is created.

The exhibition spaces lie either directly on the floor or on the playfully stacked beams at around knee hight. By picking up, bending down, circling around and even stepping over the visitors are invited to a curiosity driven, yet mindfully calming experience. The beams rest on thin rubber mats to prevent sliding. Horizontal staking uses thick wooden dowels. Thus single beams can be rotated and switch positions. The upright are secured with screws hidden in blind holes.

Since the core design of the exhibition is highly adaptable and evolves with the exhibition space and the exhibited objects, the ökoRAUSCH exhibition 2020 could still, though slightly altered, be realized despite the corona pandemic creating various insecurities and reducing the planning time drastically.
The architecture also clusters the open space, yet visitors are only subliminally guided and rather invited to find their own path while exploring different ideas for sustainable transformation.