The Plastic Whale

Concept, Design, Direction

On January 19th 2017, a cuvier’s beaked whale stranded at Sotra outside of Bergen. It’s stomach was filled with plastic waste and it had to be put down. The Plastic Whale became an eye opener for a lot of people and got media attention from around the world. The oceans are filling up with plastic, and this is a huge problem for the marine environment.

The University Museum of Bergen wanted to make an exhibition to tell the story. The main focus was to show the plastic waste found inside the stomach. They also wanted to show the whale in real life size and focus on the marine waste problems and possible solutions. Overhaus was hired to make the visual identity and spatial design for the exhibition. In close collaboration with interior architect Stine Aas, we structured the room into a space with an underwater atmosphere. Dark walls with subtle lighting of the content.


Our concept for the identity was to photograph plastic floating in water, which looks organic, almost beatiful. At first glance it can easily be mistaken for seaweed, jellyfish or other aquatic life. One theory is that the whale mistook the floating plastic for squid. We wanted to play with the juxtaposition of the beautiful aestetics and the ugly reality of the plastic problem. All photos by the talented Cecilie Bannow.


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