On May 25, one of Bruges’ finest monuments reopened its doors following major renovation. The city palace of the lords of Gruuthuse introduces many stories from the city’s fascinating past. This rich history is explored through a fine collection of tapestries, paintings, archive documents, lace and silverware.
The collection ranges from the 15th to the 19th century, from the trading metropolis of the Middle Ages to the 19th century revival and the UNESCO World Heritage City of today.
The museum is housed in what was once the city palace of Lodewijk - or Louis - of Gruuthuse. His family fortune was based on the sale of ‘gruut’, a mixture of herbs that was widely used for the brewing of beer. He carried out many improvements to his palace over the years, including the addition of a prayer chapel that overlooks the choir of the adjacent Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk. At the end of the 19th century the palace was transformed into the setting for a new historical museum.
The new museum pavilion in the inner square was built to house the ticket offices and information about Musea Brugge.
Inspired by the surprising lines of the pavilion`s contemporary architecture, we developed a system of pictograms and arrows for wayfinding. As the city where it is located is a world-renowned tourist destination, there are six languages used in the exterior system and three in the interior.
The same materials and finishes of the pavilion are used in the exterior signage in order to integrate the design. We also created a sophisticated map to help visitors locate to the ticket counter, bathrooms and entrances to the museum and workshops.
Inside, the signage works in conjunction with the scenography of the exhibition halls to achieve a simple solution for guiding visitors by following the suggested route. Integrated with architecture, it respects the environment while maintaining its presence.
Unique features were placed in the main lobby to introduce the museum, and to provide practical information for visitors and their use of audio guides.