Dobbertin Abbey

Exhibition Abbey Office

Abbeys in Mecklenburg were not only places for worship and ecclesiastical life but centres of bustling commercial activity. Dobbertin Abbey was no exception, and it was this aspect of its existence, which was to be the main focus of an exhibition celebrating the abbey’s past. The historic site, which nowadays houses a residential complex and workshops for people with disabilities, was to play host for this excursion into its own heritage. Our job was to make the story of its life as an economic hotspot, in all its rich variety, as vivid as possible for visitors.

We soon realised that these venerable rooms called for a decidedly modern exhibition. inkl.Design joined forces with Schwerin interior designer Michael Baldauf, a team of curators (Friederike Thomas, Sabine Kahle, and Heidrun Derks) and together we came up with a contemporary design for the event that drew on a wealth of historic references.

Combining ancient texts from the monastery’s cultural heyday with modern buzz-phrases, we designed special wallpaper, wrapping the exhibition in an evocative mixture of past and present. Displays pick up playfully on these contrasts between our modern world and a bygone era. For visitors who want to find out more, rotating cubes and futuristic glass spheres display further insights into life and work at Dobbertin Abbey.

In the attic of the monastery we look at the aspect of “judiciary“ of a monastery. The theft of of a silver spoon, „Holzmauserey“, adultery or intoxication – the list of human delinquencies punished at the monastery of Dobbertin is long. Once the court in the monastery had passed a sentence the prisoner was taken to the detention cell immediately.

Nowadays visitors find a lovingly designed oversized book in that very place, which teaches them everything about crimes and punishments.

Just as detailed is the 3D organigram we made about the people that held office in the monastery. With its info sliders it seems like a miniature theater and makes history come alive. We inkl designers know: It’s people and their fates that make history come alive in the present. By the examples of five monastery men from different centuries we tell additional fascinating stories.

Historical aerial view of the monastery complex. On top a signet of the monastery office from 1883
Detail photo of a movable slide of the organigram with information on the officials of the monastery head office
A golden yellow coloured surface.
Photo looking into the offence book displayed in one of the holding cells. Court records are displayed in it.
Detail photo of the organigram to introduce the office holders via movable silhouettes with photos of the function holders
Photo of an information board on the history of the district court
The open presentation booklet of the exhibition concept photographed on an old honey-brown wooden table. The opened page presents the wall design concept. The opened page shows a historical type cut in detail in the colours black and yellow.
The staircase in the exhibition Klosteramt Dobbertin looking down from above. The staircase hatch is framed with a white grille. The wooden steps lead along a wall decorated with yellow, blue and grey historical lettering. A curved white banister is mounted on the wall.
Detailed view of an exhibit. A miniature representation of a windmill is enclosed in a transparent sphere.
A dark blue coloured surface.
The photo shows a shot from the working process. It shows cut-out black and white print-outs of drawings of historical male fashion figures of the 19th century pinned to a wall. The cut-out figures are pasted with blue and green Post-It notes.
A historical photograph of a residential street in the municipality of Dobbertin. Sandstraße leads out of an avenue of large trees that dominates the left half of the picture. On the right side are two farmhouses, in front of which is Sandstraße, delimited in the foreground by two stone posts.
Photo of an exhibition information enclosed in a transparent sphere
Photo of the open offence book in a holding cell
Photo with exhibition elements and signet of the monastery office from 1915

Graphic Concept

The wall design concept. A historical typeface in the colours yellow and blue is explained in detail.
Detail photograph into the offence book of 1844 with description of a case.
Graphic processing of the history of two offences
Extract from the organigram: layout of the allocation of information to the individual officials of the monastery head office
Schematic representation of man-sized silhouettes of the monastery captains as exhibition panels in the exhibition

A Glance at the Exhibition

Photo of the exhibition room with silhouettes of some of the monastery captains as information carriers
Photo of the exhibition room with various exhibition elements. In the background a wall-sized map showing the dimensions of the monastery office, in the foreground tables with the different branches of the economy.
Photo of the realised organigram to present officials in different hierarchical levels. The organigram consists of movable silhouettes and additional information
Photo of a holding cell with silhouette of a prisoner sitting on a cot and an information board
Photo of a detention cell wall with graphically prepared information on offences and the respective sentences
Photo in a holding cell. The oversized offence book is fixed on a table.
Photo of a wall with photo motifs of abbey ladies and monastery grounds

Project Details

Project Scope: Exhibition concept, exhibition didactics, exhibition design, graphic concept, graphic design, concept for the implementation of the exhibition contents in Easy-to-Read language, production management