Thursday Salute to Originals: Modern Design of Mayan History

To present Mayan civilization in a dynamic audio and visual medium, an interactive media installation at the recently constructed Gran Museo del Mundo Maya conveys cultural developments over time. The goal of the exhibit was to represent the Mayan diaspora not as archaeological vestiges, but as a living culture that exists today. Given this focus, video painting and multimedia technology have been blended to evoke Mayan culture in an animated narrative that spans from the birth of our planet, through the history of mankind, to the emergence of contemporary societies today.

Backlit Facade Illumination at Gran Museo del Mundo Maya

The Gran Museo del Mundo Maya building itself, designed by Mexican based firm Grupo Arquidecture (formerly 4A Arquitectos), was designed around Mayan beliefs as opposed to contemporary aesthetic principles. The program was based on the ‘Ceiba’ plant, a sacred tree in Mayan culture. The structure prominently features an oval mass hoisted high above the ground wrapped in green-tinted facade elements that represent the foliage spreading out, protecting and shading the functions underneath.

Multimedia Lighting Design Facade Treatment

The exterior of the museum showcases a presentation of images the in the form of an animated fresco on the exterior of the museum. This interactive piece, created in collaboration between video painter Xavier de Richemont and multimedia lighting design firm XYZ Technologie Culturelle, is accompanied by an audio track of ancient and modern sounds. “XYZ’s multimedia installation offers visitors a chance to literally immerse themselves in this symbolic narrative. Sixteen high-definition projectors animate the upper part of the museum façade with a virtual strip that unfurls 34 giant tableaus composed of drawings, photographs, and graphic compositions by de Richemont. A long-range sound system, integrated into the building’s architecture, broadcasts the show’s music throughout the site,” according to Contemporist.

Gran Museo del Mundo Maya Exterior Facade Design

Video Animated Lighting Design Illuminated Facade Technology

As designers strive to connect buildings to unique contexts and cultures, this project inspires the use of emerging technologies to express those histories. We salute this intersection between modern lighting design, art, and architecture to achieve a rich narrative expression!

Image credits: Contemporist