Dutch digital branding agency Build in Amsterdam created a sophisticated online extension of the iconic photography museum Foam. An online environment enabling everyone to explore this wonderful museum - worldwide, 24/7. Connecting the various facets of Foam at the same time: their well-known magazine, extensive artwork collection, biennial Talent Call, podcasts, interviews and educational programmes.
Visiting a physical exhibition is a tangible experience - triggering various emotions. Build in Amsterdam embraced the digital realm, and applied many tools to trigger these emotions - from using colours and motion to typography and sounds.
The agency created a beautiful exploratory space to browse and discover (new) content - like walking around a physical exhibition.
Behind the scenes - the design process
Foam wanted to truly embrace the digital medium, and use the browser window in an unconventional way. Build in Amsterdam did not just want to replicate a physical exhibition space in 3D: a very popular format for online exhibitions during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. Instead, the agency re-created the experience of wandering around a museum by using a horizontal scroll function. Replicating how visitors observe artworks and walk along exhibition walls in a physical museum.
Even though Foam's design language is minimalist and bold, using only one typeface, Build in Amsterdam still managed to add an element of surprise by introducing hover and/or scroll elements.
They also introduced the Foam iconography, using thin lines and elongated arrows - inspired by the signage in the museum itself. The iconic red banner displayed on the facade of the Foam building became the smart menu bar.
True to Foam's mission ‘All about photography’, the agency never cropped any artwork, and did not allow any typography to run across imagery/art.
Very clever is the smart menu display showing only the relevant links or filters depending on the content you are viewing.
Highlighting foam.org Connections
This section is loved by our Dutch Digital Design curators. It is constantly evolving, and the most experimental part of Foam.org.
When you walk around an exhibition space, you do not always follow the prescribed route. You wander around. Build in Amsterdam wanted to replicate a similar feeling by staying away from the usual website call-to-actions like 'you may also like' or 'related articles'. Instead they introduced a web of visuals, podcast, text excerpts, etc. Connected to each other through key words that you will also find below the smart menu. Enabling the visitor to wander and explore freely.
I love its playful yet sophisticated presentation of details. Lots to explore, interesting layouts and fluid animations. It perfectly reflects the vision of the FOAM museum itself. Dutch Digital Design Curators
Working with the Foam museum
Working closely with the Foam curators helped the agency to really get under the museum's skin, and understand and translate their needs.
When creating a new physical exhibition, walls are rebuilt and painted, art is displayed and lighting is adjusted. Knowing this, Build in Amsterdam offer the Foam team full online curatorship. With a wide range of modules that allow curators the same freedom as they would have in the offline world.
The Foam team uses the ‘Exhibition builder’ created within Storyblok - a content management system. They are able to choose and arrange chapters, special layouts and colour backgrounds - creating their own custom online exhibition space.
Foam - together with Build in Amsterdam - has created a truly hybrid museum experience. Extending the visitor experience in the museum with an appealing, interactive digital space.
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