DIVA, Antwerp Home of Diamonds
Experiential, Visitor Attractions
With 500 years of diamond history to tell, Antwerp has hosted a diamond museum for almost 50 years. The latest chapter of that story started in 2012 as the Diamond Museum closed its doors for an extensive refurbishment that would see it fused with the Silver Museum Sterckshof to become, the bigger, better, ‘DIVA, Antwerp Home of Diamonds’. More than a name, DIVA is a concept in storytelling.
Unlike other museums, DIVA didn’t have the luxury of attracting visitors with the world’s biggest jewels, so the project team focused on telling a tantalising story around the 600 fascinating objects that form the collection, to create an experience unlike any other.
A key objective was to create a compelling narrative within a space as luxurious as its subject. Based around the fictional hostess, Diva and told by her fictional butler Jérôme, the story takes visitors through the six distinct rooms of the collection.
As part of that journey, The International Trading Room was designed to illustrate how diamonds had made their way to Antwerp and relay the story of how it came to be a diamond hub. True to the theme, the solution needed to be sparkling - an eye-catching technological marvel. It also needed to fulfil the difficult requirements of facilitating collaborative or individual experiences and appeal universally to all age groups.
The project’s main contractor, developer and manufacturer of exhibitions, Bruns B.V., approached Pufferfish to help achieve that aim
The solution was a PufferSphere 1200. Making a big impact in the centre of the room, the system offers interactivity via external touchscreens, which are used to support the global story unfolding on the sphere and giving users control to navigate the content at their own pace.
Our software tools afforded the content creators the freedom to prepare content in their familiar motion-graphic workflows and translate the flat assets for display in spherical format. Our team also offered instruction and guidance to support the design process. The resulting globe application, a collaboration between Centre Screen, Create and filmmaker Mario de Munck, makes it instantly clear why Antwerp became the diamond capital of the world while offering an intuitive way to explore half a millennium's worth of historical narrative.
A 1.2-metre acrylic sphere at its centre, the system forms an impressive centrepiece in the room and offers visitors the space to interact in groups or individually. Prior to taking up position in its new home in Antwerp, the PufferSphere was selected by organisers to form part of a travelling DIVA exhibition in China, the result of a partnership with the Shanghai Diamond Exchange. For three months the exhibition wowed visitors in Shanghai before swiftly returning to Belgium for installation ahead of the museum launch.
More than 100.000 international and domestic visitors are expected through the doors of DIVA each year. A key piece in the exhibition, the PufferSphere is poised to delight visitors and continue telling tantalising stories in Antwerp. We look forward to working with Bruns again and seeing the new museum and its exhibits evolve, with the PufferSphere an important component for many years to come.
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