Give peace a (interactive) chance

When you’ll have the chance to visit Oslo, between the outstanding new Opera House and the classic Holmenkollen breathtaking views, you’ll spend half a day – that’s for sure – at the Aker Brygge area. Shopping, nice restaurants, the waterfront and shrimps a go-go can wait a little: you’ll have the whole nordic endless night to take advantage of it. So take half an hour to visit the Nobel Peace Center, just a walk away from Aker Brygge. The Center is a former train station and is doing quite well to tell such an important history of people which (mostly) gave their life for a better, more peaceful world. The space is cozy and warm (simple, nice, quite well organized, nice staff in it), the size perfect for the purpose (give me an idea, let me think about it, let me bring a little but strong memory-feeling with me, but don’t bother me too much) and the contents very well managed. Having in their hands not a proper “sci-fi” bunch of contents the managers did a very good job to let people interact anyway instead of simply walk and listen. This way to tell the story allow people to understand, play, discover, dig and learn. I really liked the “sliding wall”, I should say a pre-touch-era installation, that allows you to feel the power of your interaction with contents: you really feel like the master of the history being the timeline phisycally in your hands (more than your fingers). I guess that almost every museum should have a “give me the full view in an interactive way of what you are talking about in here” like this one. And the wall logic is very effective: stand and interact so that other people around me can also participate: far better than a table. Before that a quite mystic path between the men and women which made the history is inboxed in a dark room marked by displays. It’s like a pool separated by the rest in which you can “swim” sourrounded by silence and glooming lights. At the first floor an rfid interactive path dedicated to the youngsters is graphycally excellent and technically extremely well done. Not a permanent installation, but I guess they are used to these standards. The other exihibtions are quite discrete, well lighted and always built up with that elegant mood that only who has a strong background in respecting the principles of design (the use of white spaces, materials, lights overall) like the Norwegians can claim. Improvements? Disabled users could not take advantage of some of these facilities – I guess that the concept of “peace” is not only “not make the war” but also let everyone access to knowledge – anyway I hope i’ll have the chance to work on that.

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