Over the last few years, the architecture of exhibitions has become more and more important. Not only the content of an exhibition but also the way art objects are being presented, is an essential part of the perception of visitors. So it is no surprise that many reviews also assess the exhibition’s architecture. Consequently, there have been a lot more investments in exhibition materials over the last few years. Not only to make the exhibition more attractive and accessible, but also to comply with modern regulations regarding air conditioning and security.
Big exhibitions rarely last more than a few months. Most of the exhibition materials (bases, glass bells, seating, display tables, acclimatization, frameworks, audiovisual materials, partition walls, display cases, cash desks, cloak room materials,…) are only reusable by the organizers to a limited degree. On the one hand this is because of limited storage facilities but it may also be because of non-durable designs and esthetic ambitions of exhibition designers.
Also for performing arts and film sets often new materials are created or purchased (stage settings, costumes, props, lighting,…). Again because of a shortage of storage space, a lot of these materials end up in a garbage container. Furthermore, organizations keep some of these materials in warehouses, left to gather dust, often hoping in vain that they will need it again some time.
Thanks to Kringloopexpo, these materials will get a second life. We want to confine the ecological footprint of cultural organizations by stimulating the reuse and the modular construction of cultural materials. We need to change the mentality in the sector from a wasting consumption pattern where esthetics are the only important factor to a circuit of recycling and durable management in which ecology and esthetics can go hand in hand and where a closed production cycle is our ultimate goal. This action will enhance the durability of our cultural investments.
Through this initiative, available means (time, funds and materials) will be used more efficiently. A lot of materials need expensive resources and are tailor-made. Consequently the architecture of exhibitions and performing arts absorb a significant part of the cultural budget. However, a lot of things can be recycled, especially if they are made in a durable and modular way, with an eye for reuse.
The cultural organization Brugge Plus npo has found a partner in Musea Brugge to create Kringloopexpo, a digital platform for second-hand cultural materials. After a free registration all users can offer or request cultural equipment. Our website offers a wide range of materials for rent/sale from mainly Belgium supplier. Thanks to exhibitions such as “Luc Tuymans, a vision on Central Europe” and “Van Eyck tot Dürer”, the new initiative could already recover a lot of professional exhibition materials. Both exhibitions were praised for their excellent designs, now largely offered for rent/sale.
On the website, you can find an inventory of all available materials. The relevant information of each object is mentioned (measures, materials, weight, pictures, price, etc…). The owner of the materials remains the owner and offers his possessions for rent/sale. Furthermore, you can also put specific questions on the website if the offered ads do not satisfy your specific wishes.
The digital platform attends to the initial communication between supplier and buyer of a product. Only regarding serious reactions, supplier and buyer/tenant will be introduced to each other. With each transaction, a commission will be paid to the platform to recover part of the expenses.
The offered materials must be in a good state. That is why Kringloopexpo offers some extra services. If the owner wishes, offered objects can also be inspected, measured, photographed, published online, packed or transported. The platform can also store objects. It is not our intention to turn the storage capacity into a repository of useless materials. Due to the limited storage space, Kringloopexpo only takes over used quality materials free of charge, to prevent their destruction.
After a free registration, everybody can offer and request quality materials for exhibitions and performing arts. Organizations and individuals that offer materials have a chance to recover a part of their production expenses. The advantage for buyers and tenants is that it can be a lot cheaper than put together tailor-made materials themselves.
Both suppliers and buyers/tenants can be organizers of big or small cultural events. In one respect a glass bell made from armoured and non-reflecting glass can be suitable to cover a historic masterpiece. On the other hand a show glass can be suitable for a local exhibition in a cultural centre or a community centre. Through participation in this project, all those concerned show social commitment: confining the ecological footprint and spend tax money in a responsible way.
Kringloopexpo began as a collaboration between Brugge Plus NPO and Musea Brugge. This collaboration extends to include key partners from Belgium such as: MSW, SMAK, Faro, Wiels, Bozar, MuZEE, KMSK Brussel, Museum M, MSK Gent, Locus, Vooruit, KVS, De Munt, Stepp, Komosie, Huged, BAM...
On the long term Kringloopexpo wants to stimulate cultural organizers and designers to take into account reuse, recycling and durability from the start (in design, transport and choice of materials/resources). We are also trying to incorporate social employment to provide the smart repair of used materials.
The ultimate goal is to close the production cycle of materials by designing and offering durable alternatives. To achieve this we are developing a ecological network with expertise in durable cultural designing. We cooperate with Jonge Sla, REcoEP, OVAM, colleges and numerous stakeholders.
What’s more, we want to open up the available knowledge both domestic and abroad. We contacted a similar project on reuse of exhibition materials (Museumplaats) in the Netherlands. A mutual cooperation with foreign partners could lead to an instructive exchange of information and knowhow. This eco-cultural project offers us a chance to make a durable step towards more innovative cultural designing on a European or international level.
Kringloopexpo wants to stimulate the durable (re)usage and (re)design of cultural materials. Because of the upcoming interest for cultural productions this innovative pilot project can mean a big step forwards for Belgium in realizing cultural productions and their architectures in a socially responsible way.