The Wordsworth Museum is the former home of iconic English poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy. The project to refurbish started almost five years ago with the final stages finalised by 17 May for the museum’s reopening.
Nissen Richards’ goal for the design was to play with words in the most interactive way possible. They wanted to engage visitors with the poetry itself as well as demonstrate how ahead of his time Wordsworth was.
According to Nissen Richards director Pippa Nissen, the project was split into five sections.
The first part of the journey gives facts about Wordsworth and his life; the second allows visitors to “step into another time and feel as if they were there at a particular moment in Wordsworth’s life”. The third section employs a walk through the landscape in which Wordsworth would compose his poetry, followed by the fourth part which allows visitors to reflect on the poet’s significance today. Finally, visitors climb to the top of the building and look across the landscape to see all of Wordsworth’s references for themselves.
Those who are familiar with the poet will acknowledge how being in touch with nature was crucial to his creations. In a world where the environment is in danger and where we spend less and less time outdoors, Wordworth’s words can enlighten and educate us a hundred years after their composition.
According to Nissen “he would first experience the landscape and then reflect back on that experience in terms of ‘spots of time’ – we have reflected this by creating more intense moments, followed by a pause space for reflection and further connection to the landscape’.
A lot of graphic elements are informed by ink which allude to another time, which visitors will recognise in the museum manuscripts.
The studio has also designed a new logo for the museum which is inspired by Wordworth’s revolutionary approach to format and the typesetting of the printed versions of his early work. The “s” and “w” letterforms have their own ligature mark which creates a visual reference to calligraphy and the tradition of typesetting.
Overall the general colour palette of the museum takes inspiration from Wordsworth’s romantic era, specifically the use of light in paintings.