Responses by Andreas Wagner, chief executive officer, Koalition.
Background: This site pays tribute to the tenth anniversary of the Getaria, Spain–based Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum. One of the most influential fashion designers in history, Balenciaga became synonymous with elegance, the avant-garde, beauty and timelessness. Between his personality, creativity and career, his legacy is not limited to the material work he left us but also encompasses his own way of understanding himself and his practice, which was an essential part of his undeniable success. Balenciaga’s biography, work and values are therefore the three key aspects that converge in the genesis of the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum. In the context of its tenth anniversary, these are the three threads by which we weave the story of this digital exhibition. The exhibition unveils ten representative pieces from the Museum’s collection, which are linked to ten significant milestones in the institution’s activity this past decade, and in which ten of Balenciaga’s most inspiring values are displayed.
Design core: We had some great content, and a great partner in Lin3s—two things that always make our job a lot easier. Our philosophy is always to make sure we facilitate the content, make content the priority and have the web design support that in the best way possible. Good story-driven sites are rare, and it is also a hard nut to crack. How do you tell a story in a world where patience is on the decline? We think that horizontal scrolling turned out to be a great solution. It guides the user gently through the story while still maintaining a sense of engagement.
Favorite details: We wanted to place Balenciaga’s story on a pedestal and keep the experience engaging with a very minimal design. We’re very proud of how the UX turned out, and all the flourishes with animations and transitions on scroll. The way that the UX is “chaptered” is one of the more innovative parts that we think turned out well.
Challenges: The main challenge was to get the side scrolling exactly right. It was a typical case of creating something that looks so simple to the user but, in truth, is a very time-consuming, iterative process. Polishing the function was daunting. Images had to be preloaded to maintain the flow. However, all the hair pulling was worth it when the end result was spot on. We are still exploring what this relatively new media can do.
Technology: We used a custom-built boilerplate that runs on a customized, headless WordPress CMS with Next.js and React. WordPress is familiar to most content managers, so it’s a CMS we still use quite a lot. Finally, we are in love with GreenSock’s amazing ScrollTrigger and GSAP libraries; these are a great help in managing animations and scroll actions.