Bouwdesign is an award-winning exhibition planning and design firm. We are leaders in our field because we understand that the exhibit development process is about getting the marriage between content and design right. We offer customized planning and interpretive solutions from start-up to opening day. We listen carefully and work closely with all of our client groups to ensure that the end product is on point.
At Bouwdesign (Bouw rhymes with “now” and means “build” in Dutch) our core group collaborates with an experienced group of museum specialists and builders in order to provide our clients with unique exhibition experiences. The team works on carefully selected projects that engage us. No job is too big or too small.
Bouwdesign plans, researches, writes, designs, fabricates and installs two and three-dimensional spaces of all types. We design and produce universally accessible exhibitions of the highest quality.
CTSM – From Earth to Us Exhibit
We are an exhibition, environmental, and graphic design firm. Our exhibits have examined how airplanes fly, how Martin Frobisher did not find gold, how Rocket Richard scored each of his 544 goals, and how a bodhi tree illuminates the creative process of artists in India. We’ve designed innovative presentations of pre-Inuit carvings, Canadian dolls, Japanese tops and kites, and more than 2,000 historical and contemporary objects, images and documents in the First Peoples Hall at one of the most visited museum in Canada. We created a one-room schoolhouse inside a museum, and built a Newfoundland root cellar (complete with potatoes, carrots and turnips) to explain the science behind food preservation. We have taken 1867 light bulbs to create a stunning interactive art installation and built a glacier to draw attention to climate change.
Our clients have included the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Canadian Children’s Museum, the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, the National Capital Commission, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, the Canada Science and Technology Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, the City of Ottawa, the City of Kingston, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Global Centre for Pluralism, the Aga Khan Foundation and, Library and Archives Canada.
We have won awards in the cultural heritage sector for our expertise in interpretation and design. We are particularly proud to say that we played a significant role in Canada Science and Technology Museum becoming the first national public institution in Canada to earn the Accessibility Certified Gold rating – the highest possible – under the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility CertificationTM (RHFAC) program. The RHFAC program works to help improve accessibility of the built environment – the places where we live, work, learn and play.
I wept my way through the Pier 21 Refugee Exhibition in Halifax today. It was one of the best exhibitions at a museum that I have seen. And it is the biggest honour of my life to be amongst the six refugees chosen for the "outstanding contributions to Canada" section. Thank you.
Author, actor, and playwright
I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with your company, Bouwdesign, for about ten years now. The most recent project being the design/build of the From Earth to Us gallery in our new museum. Each time was not only productive and extremely professional but also fun and very creative.
Your designs are simply exquisite and our visitors can never have enough of your immersive experiences and inviting spaces. I have rarely worked with such a dedicated firm and flexible and accommodating creators who are always willing to go the extra mile to ensure the delivery of the best product possible. I would work with you any day.
Canada Museum of Science and Technology
Bouwdesign delivered the professionalism that we were looking for in the design of our inaugural exhibition that opened the new Ottawa Art Gallery. Their ideas for artwork display and delivery of wayfinding and didactic information were innovative and stylish.
Ottawa Art Gallery
It is a pleasure to work with Sunniva and her team. Designing exhibitions on natural resources, such as Potash: Feeding the World, and From Earth to Us, is not a simple task. Bouwdesign always approaches the subjects with enthusiasm. The team offers design solutions that are creative, interactive, and engaging. Bouwdesign makes the design-build process smooth and consistently delivers high quality work.
Canada Museum of Science and Technology
Great, dynamic design with attention to creativity, details and feasibility. Some research and development was done successfully for new products. Great communication of intentions, very good listener and great ability to organize and work with client.
Toles School House and India the Living Arts
Canadian Museum of History
May I thank you personally for your commitment and the excellence of your work. Your involvement as the main designer responsible for the development of nearly 20,000 square feet of space and exhibitions has been crucial to the success of the First People’s Hall.
The quality of your work on this project can be added to that of the various exhibition designs you have done for CMC in the past. The exhibitions From Time Immemorial, Lost Visions, Forgotten Dreams, and Inuit and Englishmen, as well as the Exhibitions India, the Living Arts are fine examples of your design excellence.
Past President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization
Time-permitting, I have made a point to walk through the exhibition every time I have visited the Canadian War Museum. The stories are truly inspiring and some of the displays and artifacts still give me chills.
Honestly, I think it is the best exhibition I have seen at the Canadian War Museum in quite some time. It was a really beautiful exhibition.
Manager, Publishing and Corporate Products
Canadian Museum of History and Canadian War Museum
FROM EARTH TO US at the Canada Museum of Science and Technology
**Award for Outstanding Achievement in the category of Exhibitions, 2018**
From the Canadian Museum Association: “This award was received for the new permanent exhibitions that effectively and distinctly contribute to increased public understanding of Canada’s stories of science, technology, and innovation, past, present, and future.”
FROM EARTH TO US at the Canada Museum of Science and Technology
**Accessibility Certified Gold rating under the Rick Hansen Foundation, 2018**
The Canada Science and Technology Museum is the first national public institution in Canada to earn the Accessibility Certified Gold rating – the highest possible – under the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility CertificationTM (RHFAC) program. The RHFAC program works to help improve accessibility of the built environment – the places where we live, work, learn and play.
FOOT PRINTS: A WALK THROUGH GENERATIONS – The Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute
**Award for Outstanding Achievement in the category of Cultural Heritage, 2018**
From the Canadian Museum Association: based on the ability to achieve national significance and exceed the current standard of practice by going beyond conventional approaches in the development of a travelling exhibition.
Our team includes the best museum specialists in Canada in the areas of planning, research, writing, translation, web design, video design and production, lighting design, programming, interactive design both mechanical and digital, design and fabrication of artifact mounts, conservation, design and fabrication of museum displays and site recreations, model making, graphic production, fabrication, and installation services.
Sunniva Geuer is a Canadian exhibit designer with more than 25 years of experience in two and three-dimensional design. She has collaborated with many client groups over the years in the creation of a wide variety of popular museum exhibitions.
Sunniva has worked with curators and interpretive planners in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, ethnography, history, science and folklore among others to determine the final method of presenting content in a way that best engages the visitor.
In 2010 Sunniva expanded her operation to create Bouwdesign. Bouwdesign is based in Ottawa and now offers not just exhibit design services but also research, writing, interpretive planning, design/build and installation services.
Lucas has been with Bouwdesign since the beginning and is a graduate of the Interdisciplinary Design Department at NSCAD University. He studied graphic design, industrial design, and interaction design, all of which informs his work and gives him a unique perspective on both research and execution. In addition to his academic studies he worked on several successful projects as a freelance designer. He joined Bouwdesign in 2010.
Lucas Ridgeway is an emerging talent in the field of 3D exhibition design. He takes an active role in the development of product sketching, typography, product development, illustration, Cad/cam, rendering, interaction design, detailing, and preparation of final drawing packages.
Peter has had an extraordinary 23 year career as a partner at Oulton and Devine, where he has designed exhibits for museums, interpretive centres, as well as national and international trade shows.
Peter has been working in collaboration with Bouwdesign for several years on projects such as World War Women at the Canadian War Museum, Architectural Niches - Kingston, ON City Hall, the Artillery Park: archaeology exhibit in Kingston, Space Discovery Centre at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, and Food Preservation: The Science You Eat at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.
Bouwdesign relies on Peter to ensure that our drawing packages are accurate and that all installations run smoothly from the smallest travelling exhibit to the most complex of permanent exhibitions. Peter's expert detailing and museum experience ensures that creative visions are realized and that all of our exhibits exceed client expectations.
Jesse received his Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) degree from the University of Ottawa and has since been working both as a freelance and in-house graphic designer. His formal background in art, paired with diverse design experience allow him to approach each new project in a dynamic and innovative way.
We rely on a broad network of museum specialists for design, content development and fabrication. Some of our regular contributors include the following:
Kim brings more than 25 years of professional writing experience to her work as an exhibit script writer. She has worked for science centres, cultural centres, and heritage museums across Canada and internationally. Kim has written on a broad range of subjects including science and technology, the arts, sports, history, and Indigenous culture. She collaborated with Bouwdesign to write the “Earth to Us” exhibition for the Canada Science and Technology Museum.
Nigel is a carpenter, metal worker, artifact mount maker and troubleshooter who can do, fix, and figure out just about anything. With experience in both millwork and welding, Nigel uses a variety of materials such as wood, metal and acrylics to produce exhibit structure and furniture as well as artifact mounts and supports.
Dawn's experience includes fabrication of custom artifact mounts using conservation approved methods and materials, production of traveling exhibits for intercontinental transportation, design and fabrication of three dimensional mannequins for textiles, as well as matting, framing and installation of two and three dimensional artwork and contemporary art installations.
Dave has worked as a museum professional for 28 years. He designs and produces custom mounts in brass, steel and acrylic. He makes a point of following museum trends in his field and has an excellent knowledge of conservation approved products. His work has appeared in all of the Canadian National Museums as well as across the United States and the Caribbean.
Global Center for Pluralism design and build services including content development. Located in the office building at 330 Sussex Drive, Ottawa.
Library and Archives Canada, Exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 395 Wellington Street building, Ottawa. Located in the Pellan Room.
Canada Food and Agriculture Museum design and build services including interpretive planning and writing. Approximately 2000 square feet.
Canada Science and Technology Museum design and build services including interpretive planning and writing. Approximately 1500 square feet.
I Know You by Heart, Portrait Miniatures Portrait Gallery of Canada, Canada Library and Archives.
Ottawa Art Gallery – April 28, 2018
Bouwdesign: Design Consultant
Premiere: New Acquisitions at Library and Archives Canada – Exhibition April 24, 2018
Bouwdesign: Lead Design and Build
Refuge Canada - Pier 21, Halifax April 19, 2018
Bouwdesign: Lead Design
To What Degree – Travelling Exhibit for Canada Science and Technology Museum – February, 2018
Bouw Design: Design/Build
From Earth to Us – permanent exhibit for the CSTM – November, 2017