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Melinda Esterházy

Communication Design & Exhibition Design

The mise-en-scène of the exhibition refers to the metaphor of a theatrical stage. Room by room, the visitors can follow the different phases of Melinda’s life – like experiencing an opera play. Five acts are the focal points of the exhibition and bring the former prima ballerina to life – like back at the Budapest State Opera, where she danced during the 1930s and 40s.

Baroque room in Esterhazy palace with chandelier on the ceiling, a person sitting on a bench in front of a blue curtain that serves to divide the room, with exhibition graphic on it
Esterhazy Castle from the outside
Sketch of the exhibition rooms, the sequence of which thematically follows the life of Melinda Esterhazy in a timeline.

Melinda Esterházy (1920–2014) was a famous dancer, with an ambitious career and a humble personality off-stage – although being the last princess of the high aristocratic Austrian-Hungarian Esterházy tycoon tribe. Her versatile character is displayed throughout an exhibition in Eisenstadt, Austria.
Spatial production, light and all materials give the whole exhibition design a unique theatrical touch that blends into the historical building of the castle residency. Curtains, room texts on fabric and stage lightening literally orchestrate the objects.

Exhibition view with objects, paintings, room-filling blue curtain and exhibition graphics
Typographic elements in the exhibition divide the show into life stages from Melinda Esterhazy
Glass showcase with exhibition objects and explanation text integrated
Exhibition display in a baroque room, layered objects, exhibition texts and decorative elements in different depths and heights of the room

A 360° canvas screens an audiovisual piece that surrounds the visitors with Melinda Esterházy’s career. Central motif is dance itself: abstractly animated, and with some historical highlights of Melinda’s shows. Movie and music embrace the spectator with mesmerizing visuals and images.

Movie still of the exhibition film
Sketch of the exhibition rooms, in which the oval cinema is drawn as a blue band
Dark exhibition room, with bottom view of oval cinema screen, which is seen as hanging overhead as a strip in the air

Just like at a theatre or opera, visitors receive a playbill on the exhibition instead of an exhibition catalogue. The illustrated booklet narrates Melinda’s story in five acts, accompanies and complements a tour through the exhibition.

Hand holding closed exhibition brochure with portrait of Melinda Esterhazy on cover
Opened exhibition brochure with blue pages
Opened exhibition brochure with blue pages and photo of a dancing woman
Invitation to the exhibition opening with a sliding cover, white envelope and blue inlet
Embossed writing on the exhibition invitation in white
A specially designed embossing stamp gives the invitation a noble, princely character with a wax badge and a blue bow