In conversation with Nazneen Haque Mimi: Designing museums
Journeyman, a design company, has been involved in many museum projects’ interior designing. Nazneen Haque Mimi, an interior consultant, and a key individual of the company, worked in a number of these initiatives.
One of the latest projects she was involved in is Toshakhana Museum, which inaugurated last month. The museum on Bijoy Sarani is home to a vast collection of gifts received by a number of prime ministers and presidents of Bangladesh.
For example, the floor dedicated to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has a rare collection of his photographs and gifts, including soil samples from the moon gifted to him by Neil Armstrong.
They kept the large space open, and did not make separate rooms to create a strong visual impact, Mimi said. “So, if you are standing halfway on the ramp or walkway - when you are between two floors - you will be able to see much of both.”
Her subtle use of Jamdani motifs on the false ceiling is also noteworthy, as she says it is a glorious part of our heritage.
Her first museum project was the renovation of four galleries (37-40) at the National Museum, which collectively focus on Bengalis' freedom and liberation war.
“From the British era to the War which gave us an independent country, the challenge was to present to the visitors the detailed history of Bangladesh within a limited space and budget,” she said. “A mezzanine (i.e. intermediate) floor was introduced. Ropes and panels from the ceiling were hung to present numerous photographs of freedom fighters.”
She also worked on the nakshi kantha gallery and the gallery of musical instruments.
“We got rid of many false ceilings to create larger spaces and made glass boxes to display exhibits more effectively,” she said. She enjoyed particularly the gallery with the skeleton of a whale. “The exhibit was there before, but we painted a blue background and created a better suited ambience for the remains of the aquatic animal.”
“I always try to incorporate e-kiosks as well, as a lot of information can be put in a small space," she further said.
Her other projects include 7 March Museum inside Rokeya Hall, Bijoy Ketan Museum and a folk museum awaiting inauguration - among many others.
“I am just a part of the teams involved," she humbly said. "A project is all about teamwork. I thank all the curators, historians, the authorities of the museums - everyone who I have worked alongside with."