An enchanting journey into another realm
Welcome to the wonderful world of the Hans Christian Andersen House. This is a place where reality is suspended. Where the boundaries are blurred between real life and fantasy. Don’t trust the narrator here, and don’t be surprised if the objects begin to whisper into your ear.
The museum’s story starts with a moment of serendipity. After being split in two by an imposing 1960s motorway, Odense’s historic centre was finally reunited when the highway was re-routed and the space returned to the public realm. A huge civic regeneration project ensued and the idea for a new museum was born.
Designing from the inside out
We began by designing from the inside out. Our narrative concept for the experience drove the architectural competition, which was awarded to Kengo Kuma, and it shapes the physical building. Working hand in hand with the client team, we created a journey where every walkway, every view and every twist and turn becomes part of the narrative. The building and the exhibition within seem to sing in perfect harmony.
The client's ambition to create an 'Andersenian Universe' encouraged us to develop a distinctly fantastical experience. You become a character in a story, on a quest of discovery with your own narrative arc. You begin by winding down a ramp and sinking into the underground fairy-tale realm. Stroll underneath a pond, see mermaids swimming past you, singing a siren song. See a swarm of paper-cut butterflies flutter around oversized flowers. Listen to Andersen narrate his story, leading you through the experience as he spills his secrets and reveals his creative processes.
An ensemble of artists
This perfectly illogical world has been realised by an ensemble of creatives and technical geniuses who seem to make magic through visual effects. Mind-bending interactives use Kinect technology and triggered ambisonic sound to create visual illusions. Binaural, 3D mapped sound pours through the audio guide - lean your head close to an object to hear it talk. Everyone from artists to award-winning composers, master puppeteers to acclaimed authors, have been involved in the creation of this beautiful, hypnotising dreamworld.
This is an experience like no other. A truly unforgettable encounter with Hans Christian Andersen and the wonderful world of his imagination, it must be seen to be believed.
Kengo Kuma & Associates