The evolution of Shanghai's Film History, from its very beginning in 1896 until the ''blockbuster'' days of the 21st century, has been masterfully imprinted on the surfaces and spaces of Shanghai’s new Film Museum. Located inside a former film studio in Shanghai's downtown Xujiahui, the museum has been created by the innovative minds behind Shanghai-based award-winning design and architecture agency COORDINATION ASIA under the Art Direction of the agency's founder, German-born architect Tilman Thürmer. Their vision to create a unique museum experience driven by interaction which connects the past, present and future and encourages a forum for dialogue between professionals and non-professionals, has, in short, been successfully fulfilled.
As the first film museum in the city, the Shanghai Film Museum has recently opened its doors to Chinese film aficionados who can now unearth more about the movie world through over 70 interactive installations and thousands of historic exhibits that have been cleverly absorbed onto a spacious black and white canvas with silver and golden touches reflecting the story of the Shanghai Film industry, its progress as well as its magnificence.
Whilst roaming the building’s four-stories, visitors are given the chance to become the protagonists of a film and actively participate in it by either dubbing classical films in a real sound studio, walking through a lifelike film set on Shanghai’s famous Nanjing Road or becoming a star on the ‘Carpet of Lights’, where virtual fans and photographers flash their camera’s trying to capture images of the ‘celebrity’ that has just passed by. Additional highlights include: a 4D photo album which showcases film professionals’ memories and personal stories, a 50 meters long interactive ‘stream’ of films from 1949 up until today, entitled ‘The River of Dreams’ where visitors can ‘catch’ films and learn more about them through a touch and play application and a multimedia installation that combines sound, objects, videos and the lyrics from the PRC’s national anthem (the melody was first used in a movie and was later adopted as the country’s official national anthem).
COORDINATION ASIA's visual identity for the museum was also part of the collaboration with the Shanghai Film Group. It communicates both the past and the present in one glance, connecting the golden past with the promising future of the Shanghai Film Industry. As the creators state:
''The main challenge was to create a structure that could communicate the museum’s mostly moving content. To create a base on which a variety of images could be communicated, a simple and modern color scheme of black, white, grey and metallics, was chosen. Referring to the essence of film – light and shadow – the colors evoke the memory of the golden age of film. The base functions as a modern stage for historic as well as modern content, resulting in continuously consistent and recognisable graphic output.''
All in all, the theme behind the entire museum's design is CONNECT, not only chronologically but also geographically. Whilst visitors on the other side of the Pacific may walk on the famous STARS of the ''Hollywood Walk Of Fame'', inside the Shanghai Film Museum, visitors walk on the PLUS signs placed along the floors of specific halls; something I would term the ''Shanghai Walk Of Connection''. In perpetuating the tradition of sharing, one thing is for sure: I’m convinced that visitors to the Shanghai Film Museum will continue to spread the word of their positive experience long after they have walked out of its welcoming doors.