C&G Partners has created a highly emotional and thought-provoking exhibition commemorating the 80th anniversary of the start of Kindertransport, the remarkable humanitarian mission to rescue 10,000 refugee children from Nazi-occupied Europe in the years leading up to the Holocaust. The exhibition explores the story of this rescue effort through moving personal stories, artifacts and engaging media, and asks what it must have been like for the parents, forced to lose their children in order to save them.
C&G Partners created a number of striking exhibit design elements to tell the bittersweet story of Kindertransport.
The studio brought brand design principles to the project, creating a visual identity system for the exhibition that draws on the motifs of children's ID tags and directional signs, with subtle color and typographic references to British mass transit. The arrows of the exhibition logo face westward, the direction of England from German territory.
The exhibition makes a strong first impression with a striking red wall covered with thousands of paper name tags. The refugee children wore manila tags attached by twine around their necks during the Kindertransport, serving to identify them and their belongings. C&G Partners designed the tags to completely fill one wall of the exhibition, calling to mind leaves blown by the wind. The tags represent the scale, anonymity and eventual bittersweet success of the transport effort, which was able to rescue children but not their families.
The entire floor of the exhibition is a map of Europe, illustrating the route taken by the refugee children. Referencing transit maps from the 1930s, these lines plot out major stops of the Kindertransport. Visitors "begin" their experience in Germany, Austria or Czechoslovakia, and continue through the exhibition to ultimately arrive in UK destinations of Harwich or Southampton.
Child Looking Back
Serving as highly emotional bookends to the gallery space, the "German" wall has an actual-scale image of a mother and father, with their daughter removed from the picture. The opposite or "British" wall shows their daughter looking back towards them across the map.
Artifacts and Personal Stories
Display cases throughout the gallery contain artifacts from the Kindertransport period, including letters, clothing and toys. Four vitrines also contain audio interviews, conducted by C&G Partners, of surviving Kinder who tell the personal story of their journey, and the days before and after.
Photography: Courtesy of C&G Partners