2019 | Eesti PankBrandEnviromental designExhibitionGraphic design

Travelling exhibition for the Bank of Estonia’s centennial

or how we built houses from plywood.

Our country has reached a point where more and more companies and institutions are celebrating their centennials. Velvet had the pleasure to take part in the creation of a travelling exhibition celebrating the 100-year-journey of the Bank of Estonia.

Creating a hundred-year-timeline for the hundredth time is boring

A posse of intriguing questions posed themselves at the beginning of this project. How to find a functional-cum-innovative form for the exhibition? How to talk about these 100 years in a way that doesn’t focus on the oh-so-ordinary timeline? How to make it so that all of it put together doesn’t feel boring? Or as our creative designer Kristjan aptly put it: how to find the spoonful of sugar that sweetens the deal?

Form of the exhibition follows the form of the buildings

As always, to find answers you only have to look around with your eyes open. No matter which viewpoint you pick to study the Bank of Estonia, it’s hard to miss the seven historical buildings, where the bank has operated since its founding. Thanks to their historical background the buildings of the central bank are also one of the symbols of the nation’s independence. This is why we chose these familiar buildings to depict the abstract theme of banking. If you spot this exhibition in the wild, the first things you notice are the buildings and the towers. Dividing the exhibition into house-shaped elements, which were placed on an imaginary street, gave a clever way to expand or shrink the size of the exhibition. If you have to present history in a smaller room, you can use only the “house elements” depicting the central themes. Texts on these elements are punctuated with physical interactions and plenty of infographics, to entertain the guest reading the texts and make the information more palatable.

History depicted by comparisons

As previously mentioned, depicting history as a linear timeline seemed utterly boring. Instead we picked important fields and compared its elements throughout history – how it was 100 years ago compared with how it is now. For example, when 100 years ago the average bank employee was a moustached middle-aged man, today it is a youngish woman.

Quality work from partners

And so the exhibition started its grand tour of Estonia. Last we saw it, it was in Tallinn’s Solaris centre. Despite the fact that this was the umpteenth location where history was presented, the imaginary, plywood bank buildings still looked presentable. This is the right moment to recognize our partners who helped build this exhibition. SoWood and Digitrükk did an absolutely stellar job. By the way, we’ve already started planning how to design the bicentennial exhibition of the Bank of Estonia.