We love The Rijksmuseum’s new 3D visitors’ map!

Graphic designer conquers cartographical conundrum navigating 80 galleries 8,000 objects and 800 years of art
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Marijn van Oosten’s Paper Pathfinder
Marijn van Oosten’s Paper Pathfinder

Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, housed in Pierre Cuypers' neo-Gothic building, is all about the figure 8. In 80 galleries 8,000 objects tell the story of 800 years of Dutch art and history. It's a neat concept. 

But negotiating all these artefacts over three floors is tough, even factoring in the museum’s decade-long renovation and expansion by Seville architects Cruz y Ortiz, which completed in April. Yes, there’s now more light in the exhibition areas, and a café, shop and restored library. But that's still a lot of galleries to get through. 

 

Marijn van Oosten’s Paper Pathfinder
Marijn van Oosten’s Paper Pathfinder

Hey presto, a three-dimensional museum map, created by a New York-based, Dutch graphic designer. Marijn van Oosten’s solution is the Paper Pathfinder, a mini paper model of the building. When the map is pulled out of its packaging and loosened, it springs to life rather like the pictures in a children’s pop-up book. The different rooms are colour-coded and labelled, and, when you've finished with it, it folds down to go back in your pocket or bag.

Somewhat ironically, Van Oosten’s idea took almost as long to come to fruition as the building’s restoration. She dreamed up the 3-D map as a student nine years ago. “I wanted something that you could hold in your hands,” she says. It was the museum’s sponsor, ING, who initiated the concept’s development into a realised project. Visitors can now take one free on entry. Meanwhile, the museum’s efforts will be complete on 1 November, when the Philips Wing, reopens. This was another Cruz y Ortiz design, which has now been restored by Van Hoogevest Architecten.

 

Marijn van Oosten’s Paper Pathfinder
Marijn van Oosten’s Paper Pathfinder

For more on great design take a look at The Design Book; for more on paper-based innovation, consider The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design; meanwhile for insight into the architects behind the Rijksmuseum refurbishment take a look at Cruz and Ortiz’s page in the Phaidon Atlas, our peerless online architecture resource.


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