LocationIsla Negra, El Quisco, Valparaiso, Chile
Design and ImplementationNatalia Busch, Stephan Schaale
Text description provided by the architects. This project was a commission to renovate the Snail collection exhibit in the Pablo Neruda House Museum in Isla Negra.
We were to develop an exhibit proposal with contemporary lines that generates a neutral and luminous environment to fully appreciate the snails’ delicate details and varied geometries.
The existing conditions of the place consisted of a dimly-lit room equipped with steel and glass display cases hung at various heights from the rafters. The criteria of the display was more or less random.
In the context of the House Museum, the Snail room lies at the end of the visitor circuit. Located after Neruda’s storage room, the first operation was to generate an access that established a clear limit between the house museum and this exhibition room that had a distinct character and required a certain intimacy to differentiate it from the architectural language of the rest of the house.
This was achieved with two offset elements that create a curved entrance that allows one to see into the room.
Given the long and narrow geometry of the space, the strategy consisted of creating an envelope to locate the collection along the perimeter thus leaving the center of the room free for circulation. In turn, the perimeter display cases are separated from the floor surface with metal structures confined by the existing walls of the room.
An imperfect symmetry was proposed for the space in which two continuous display cases, with slight nuances and variations in size accommodate the different kinds of snails and to compose the narrative of the circuit. The lighting is conceived entirely with LED technology and considers direct lighting for the displays and indirect lighting for the room both in the ceiling and the floor. In conjunction, etched glass is backlit to generate depth and nuances of light that interpret the aquatic submersion.
For the paving floors a polished concrete floor with exposed gravel was proposed that reflects the texture of the sand and the solidity of the shell.
A video inserted into the display system dreamily shows us Neruda immersed in a walk along the shore, the same beach on which the house stands.