Bobigny, a station between Drancy and Auschwitz

photo: ©Steve Eichler

Earlier this year, we have been commissioned by the city of Bobigny (France) to design a website for Bobigny old train station, which was one of the main sites of French deportation during WWII.

A memorial

Since the late 80’s, the city have committed itself to fight for the recognition of the site not only as an historical monument but also as a memorial.

The station is now considered as one of the emblematic sites of the Jewish genocide and has been open to public visits since 2012. As visitors, we have been deeply moved by the place and impressed by the work done to preserve its authenticity.

photo: ©Henri Perrot

The prefiguration exhibition visit takes place outdoors (not in a museum) while some information is wisely spread across the site.

photo: ©Steve Eichler

A glance at the wasteland vegetation that now populates the site.

While the project of rehabilitation and development of the memorial is still in progress, it has been subject to a wide consultation which defined the next steps and objectives of the project :

To offer a place where commemoration and education meet, while allowing the site to coexist with its social and environmental surrounding, providing “residents a living space where they can contemplate and enjoy nature, with respect and dignity of the history of this place.”

Our work

While providing accurate historical information and rare testimonials, the website was also designed to present the ongoing rehabilitation project. Here are 3 of the main challenges we faced in the process of designing the website:

To give a sense of the project’s philosophy

The combination of a lot of white spaces and dark headers was meant to compose a quiet but modern aesthetic, highlighted by the use of large pictures and discreet color sparks.

To provide a quick understanding of the many aspects of the station

Displaying the three steps of the project in the large carousel (history, memory, rehabilitation) and giving more exposure to the movie right on the homepage offer a quick way of understanding the history of the station.

Alternatively, introduction pages were designed as condensed summaries for each main part, enabling a quick first read of the website.

To feature a large quantity of historical content and resources

Quality content has been gathered through the years by Anne Bourgon (project manager on the project at the city of Bobigny) and her team: from testimonials to maps and other rare archival materials all of which needed to be sorted to compose an appropriate web experience.

Content mapping, designed to help organize the large amount of content available

A special columned layout mixing text, testimonials (written or filmed) and archival materials was designed to give visual rhythm to long pages and to enable to fine-tune the content according to its importance or its sensitivity…

A Footer page navigation was created to allow a seamless read of the content.

It has been a really great experience to work with the communication team of the city of Bobigny and we are humbled to have been able to contribute to such a meaningful project.

Visit the website for more information : http://www.garedeportation.bobigny.fr
Check out the next organized visits on this page.

Valentin, Hans & Alan