The MAS (Museum by the river), a must seen building itself, is currently exhibiting the Founder Pavilions, which give curious spectators a look at the here and now and into the future. In close cooperation with the Founders, Crepain Binst Architecture carefully designed a sophisticated setting symbolizing the unique character and essence of each Founder. Still, every pavilion is an added value to the whole MAS-experience. More images and architects’ description after the break.
1. Port Pavilion
“Experience the harbor at the foot of the MAS!” That’s what the Port Authority wanted to achieve in 2009 when the competition was launched. The project’s prime goal is to let a divers public get to know, discover and experience the port of Antwerp. Starting the weekend of 5 February 2011 the port of Antwerp opened the doors to the brand-new MAS Port Pavilion. The concept is based on a silo shape hanging in the middle of the room. The cylindrical shape recalls the innumerable silos and storage tanks dotted around the port. Inside the shape we see a 360-degree panoramic projection. The never absent presence of the silo only adds to the attraction and the expectation. Raw materials contrast with the smooth high-end finish of the silo, the furniture and the flooring. On the floor visitors will find a detailed representation of Antwerp and its port, the largest in the world. On a whole series of touchscreens integrated in the furniture and walls you can find every possible item of information about the port of Antwerp as well as live footage coming from video surveillance cameras in the harbor.
Eye catchers are: - The unique 360-degree film projection that will spoil all spectators for 15 minutes - Interactive information screens allow visitors to discover the port on their own pace. - Live footage from the port: from now on you can follow the docking of the largest container ships live from the pavilion - A satellite maps with a diameter of 6 meters recalls how vast the port of Antwerp is opposite to the town and the surrounding municipalities.
2. Umicore Silver Pavilion
The second expo-concept retains and enhances the existing transparency of the MAS pavilions. To showcase the finely detailed silver artwork in the nearly six-meter-high pavilion, four mobile cabinets were designed as a space defining element. The oversized dimensions of the display cases – more than four meters long, almost 6 meters high – refer to elements in the immediate vicinity (the MAS, the Scheldt, the docks) but also to the industrial activities of Umicore that recycles precious metals in 80 sites worldwide. The exhibition creates a bridge between ancient and contemporary art work and is structured around 3 themes: water, design and Antwerp. Central to the theme Antwerp is the artwork ‘Bonheure’ by Antwerp designer Nico Taeymans.
The cabinets not only contain the pieces of the Silver Museum, they themselves are constructed from the raw material Umicore recycles to silver, called e-scrap, electronic scrap. In this way the showcases tell their own story and make them an integral part of the exhibition. Together the four display cases contain about 10 tons of e-scrap, 7.5 tons of glass and more than 5 tons of steel. Despite the weight of nearly six tons each, they can be easily moved by one person! Edwin Remmerie: “The image of four enormous mobile display cases filled with e-scrap and silver symbolically translates the powerful relationship between Umicore and Silver Sterckshof: waste is transformed into art.”
3. Diamond Pavilion
The ‘diamond pavilion’ is the third and last gem, attached to the MAS, that is designed by Crepain Binst Architecture. This new Diamond Pavilion will be an additional asset for the Antwerp diamond sector and seamlessly connects to the pavilions of two other leading figureheads in Antwerp: the Port pavilion and the Umicore Silver Pavilion.
“Of course everybody knows the beauty and value of diamonds, but many are not familiar with the rich history, clever craftsmen, the economic importance and many other aspects of the industry Antwerp is famous for. In the Diamond Pavilion, people can get reacquainted with the unique world of the diamond industry,” says Nishit Parikh, chairman of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre
The exhibition concept is inspired by the characteristic shape of faceted diamonds. These facets were translated to an abstract triangular grid, called a ‘diagrid’, which forms the basis for the complete organization of the pavilion. Each visitor will have the opportunity to interactively explore the story of diamonds throughout the pavilion and meet up with 550 years of handsome craftmanship. Highlights are undoubtedly some gems from the HRD Awards, the renowned jewelery biennial contest. Tennis fans can also admire the famous diamond tennis racquet.