Bringing the Baltic Sea's greatest naval battle back to life through an overall experience concept

merikeskus vellamo

Merikeskus Vellamo

The client had a vision of a top notch exhibition as well as a new participatory work method where the experience concept would lead the design process

Service design, Concept design, Customer & Visitor experience design, Exhibition design

Maritime Centre Vellamo opened an experieceful Fateful Svensksund-exhibition in June 2020. The exhibition is a never-before-seen dive into the largest ever naval battles in the Baltic Sea and the forgotten fortress city built in the aftermath of the conflict. Vellamo’s team had an ambitious vision of a top notch exhibition as well as a new participatory work method where the experience concept would lead the design process. Our purpose was to discover a new way to create a story driven exhibition and to test it in practice. We partnered up with Vellamo to facilitiate the process, create the experience concept and design the exhibition.


Vision of the desired visitor experience was the guiding light in the design process. We started the process by defining the vision and the key messages through a series of participatory workshops with the extended project team. The main components of the experience concepts visualized in the early stages through sketches and moodboards to illustrate what a successful outcome would look and feel like. Defining the means of communication provided the framework for storytelling and the tone of voice. Target audience descriptions helped to clarify each group’s interests and what their visitor journeys would look like.

Exhibition design phase brought the experience concept to completion with drawings, colors and materials choices, lighting plans etc. We were the main design partner and co-operated with other specialists such as Photographer Elina Simonen, Graphic Designer Elina Vuorinen and Digital Content Providers Zoan, Fantomatico and Kunsventures to create the overall experience.


Leading the design process with the experience concept created a comprehensive story-based exhibition that evokes emotion. It brings the naval battles to life with the use of immersive spatial design combined with interactive digital storytelling. The journey starts below the Baltic Sea among a mystic shipwreck installation. From there the visitor is taken aboard a battleship to experience the anticipation, the rage and the cruelty of warfare. The journey continues with the rise and the demise of the sea fortress narrated through the lives of characters based on both fact and fiction.

The Fateful Svensksund exhibition has had a great reception among the media and the audience. Visitor numbers during the first summer season have been exceptionally high which is partially due to an appealing new exhibition.

merikeskus vellamo Pentagon Design

The number of visitors is up by 55% compared to last year, which is partially due to a new and appealing exhibition.

merikeskus vellamo

Exhibition photos: Soile Tirilä, Museovirasto
Portrait: Elina Simonen
Video: Tommi Mattila