Museum dedicated to single statue opens in Croatia

by Tom Anstey | 06 Jul 2016

A unique museum dedicated to a single bronze statue of Apoxyomenos has opened its doors on the Croatian island of Lošinj.

The CK25m (US$4m, €3.6m, £3m) Museum of Apoxyomenos, funded by the City of Mali Losinj and the Croatian Ministry of Culture, has been designed by architects Idis Turato and Saša Randic.

Centred around Apoxyomenos – a bronze statue of a young athlete, discovered in 1996 in the area at the bottom of the sea – the institution has been conceived as a “house within a house”, with a visit including passing through multiple rooms and passages on the way to the grand finale of the sculpture itself.

“The museum is built inside the shell of an old building, with the architects incorporating a completely new design within it,” said a museum spokesperson, speaking to CLAD. “The structure is formed inside of a steel structure, with the architecturally shaped body of the new museum inserted within the confines of the exterior walls and the roof of the existing Kvarner Palace.”

Visitors enter the museum via the multi-functional atrium, known as “the blue room”. The striking room is coloured a deep blue, transforming the inner walls of the palace.

From there an escalator takes groups of up to 20 through a white painted tube, leading them to the main exhibition hall – “the black room”. Within the dark area, visitors can learn the history, context, discovery, and restoration of Apoxyomenos via illuminated displays detailing the statue’s past.

Visitors then move on to “the colourful room” – an amphitheatre clad in merino wool carpet designed by studio kulenturato, with its bright and contrasting design intended to create a feeling of walking through a seabed, symbolising the unique story of how the statue was recovered and its visual history.

The “red passage” is next, which takes the form of a narrow staircase leading to “the yellow room” – a media-inspired room by MKF&AT and Bosnic+Dorotic looking at coverage related to the statue.

In the build up to the grand unveiling, “the olive passage” is a staircase made of wood, with inset chambers containing natural elements such as wood and leaves originally found inside the sculpture. The scent of oil and olives is also pumped into the room as visitors get a first glimpse at Apoxyomenos.

“The white room” by architect Vanja Ilic is the culmination of the experience, with a completely white room showcasing Apoxyomenos. The statue is the only thing in the space, which stands in contrast to its pale surroundings.

After viewing the statue, visitors leave the room, entering a final space known as “the kaleidoscope room”, which literally reflects the city outside. Mirrors on the ceiling and walls offer views of the adjacent harbour, before returning to the foyer via an elevator.

“This museum is a reason to visit the island, and its quality makes it a five-star destination,” said Anton Kliman, Croatia’s minister for tourism.

“I am convinced that today the people of Losinj welcome the bronze athlete with great pride,” added town mayor Gari Cappelli, “They have recognised many positive effects in terms of culture, economy, and tourism that it will have on the future development of Mali Losinj as a destination.”

Croatia  museum  Apoxyomenos 
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A unique museum dedicated to a single bronze statue of Apoxyomenos has opened its doors on the Croatian island of Lošinj. The CK25m (US$4m, €3.6m, £3m) Museum of Apoxyomenos, funded by the City of Mali Losinj and the Croatian Ministry of Culture, has been designed by architects Idis Turato and Saša Randic. Centred around Apoxyomenos – a bronze statue of a young athlete, discovered in 1996 in the area at
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The white room by architect Vanja Ilic is the culmination of the museum experience, with a completely white room showcasing Apoxyomenos / Museum of Apoxyomenos
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