Buchmesse Literature Salon


The Flemish-Dutch Salon is the focal point of the worlds’ most important literature event: The Frankfurter Buchmesse. The salon celebrates literature and culture in its broadest sense. The program exceeds the book: there are theatres and debate spaces, expositions, a graphic studio, a bookshop and a café, all coming together and forming a part of the 2,300m2 pavilion.

Semi-transparent walls and volumes made of stacked plastic sheets offer a powerful sensory experience; as moving around the volumes creates a kaleidoscopic effect of light and matter. A temporary and low-cost material; the stacked plastic prisms suggest a number of different routes through the space. The floor is made from clay stone; an earthy hue that contrasts with the modern presentation pieces. It serves to aesthetically anchor the installation. The open space is fringed by a slow-dynamic projection of the horizon. It is in this way -like in iconic Dutch landscapes- the horizon plays an omnipresent role. Clever engineering also makes sure that once the exhibition is finished, everything can be completely demounted and reused.

The contextual approach is also evident in the spatial design. The dense zone and the spacious salon relate to the metropolitan landscape of the low lands. They are separated by semi-transparent walls and as such, the different programmatic elements are allowed to influence each other, so the visitor is invited to experience and understand the relationship. The largest area of the pavilion is a spacious room to contemplate, sit, walk, and read. This combination of calm, open vistas and dense, media-rich content shaped by semi-transparent walls creates a specifically Flemish-Dutch typology for the exhibition.

  • Name: Buchmesse Literature Salon
  • Location: Frankfurt (GE)
  • Program: Literary salon comprising of a 100 person thatre, book expo, virtual reality pavilion, bookshop, cafe, several expos, cinema
  • Size: 2.200 m²
  • Commission: Full commission (SO, DO, CO, TO)
  • Period: 2016
  • Client: Literary funds the Nederlands and Flanders
  • Team: Jan Lebbink, Gert Kwekkeboom, Rick ten Doeschate, Ingrid van der Heijden, Angela Solis, Fernanda Romeu, Joris Lipsch, Sem Holweg, Floriane Pic, Joeri Sowka, Camillo Oliveira
  • Partners: Studio Matters, the Cloud Collective, Thorsten Schneider
  • Advisers: Arup, Fiction Factory
  • Contractor: Uniplan GmbH
  • Photography: Stijn Bollaert
  • Film: Ernest Films

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