Studio MB wins International Design Competitions for National Bank of Kuwait Museum and Iceland’s Árni Magnússon Institute projects

people in building


  • Prestigious international commissions assigned to award-winning Edinburgh-based visitor experience agency
  • National Bank of Kuwait Museum to celebrate 70 years of economic growth in landmark Norman Foster building
  • UNESCO World Heritage Icelandic manuscripts, known as the ‘pyramids of Iceland’, to be housed in purpose-built Árni Magnússon Institute



Edinburgh, Monday 24 July: The visitor destination specialist design agency Studio MB has been awarded two major international design projects – National Bank of Kuwait Museum in Kuwait (located in one of the warmest countries in the world), and the Árni Magnússon Institute in Reykjavík, Iceland (located in one of the coldest countries in the world).


Exhibition space concept design rendering


Set to open in 2025 in the heart of Kuwait City, the brand-new ‘NBK Museum, The Story of Our National Bank’ will tell a fascinating tale of transformation and economic success. Since the early 1950s and from modest origins, the National Bank of Kuwait and the country as a whole have evolved side by side to become the modern global players and partners that we see today. For the first time, the National Bank of Kuwait, recognised and respected internationally, will have a museum dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the bank’s founders along with its many achievements amassed over the past 70 years.


First National Bank of Kuwait, opened in 1952


Housed beneath the landmark Norman Foster building, this new museum will tell the story of the National Bank of Kuwait as an immersive visitor experience. Combining innovative audio-visual displays and interactives with historical artefacts from the bank’s archives, this will be a multimedia celebration and exploration of the nation’s first bank.

The museum will chart the growth of the bank: from birth, to challenges, to achievements through a compelling timeline. From the way of life in 1950s Kuwait – the decade the bank was born – to the hopes for the nation, this project will showcase the bank and illuminate its importance as a cherished and essential piece in the history of the nation.


Craig Mann, Founding Director at Studio MB, said: “The NBK Museum will be a celebration of the bank’s founders, directors and employees who have built this great financial institution, their story past, present and future. It’s a story of perseverance and determination, partnership, and collaboration. This prestigious project win is an excellent way to start our 20th year in business.”


Charlie Barr, Founding Director at Studio MB, said: “This new Museum will be an inspiring, informing and involving experience for all visitors, and not just a corporate advert. A national narrative, told through the conduct, values and achievements of its national bank and its founders. It will be an accessible story. The themes being presented will be human and universal, engaging for all society. It’s a story every person can appreciate and relate to.”


Árni Magnússon Institute gallery visual


Meanwhile in May 2024, the Árni Magnússon Institute in Reykjavík, Iceland will open its doors to the public for a stunning and immersive exhibition showcasing the world’s rarest and oldest collection of Icelandic manuscripts, which include the earliest record of Norse mythology.

With the exhibition set to feature the Institute’s UNESCO World Heritage recognised collection of Icelandic manuscripts, this is a showcase that has been eagerly awaited by Icelanders and international academics alike. Studio MB will be designing this permanent exhibition, and the display offers visitors a look into the key themes within the manuscripts. From ideas about Norse Mythology and Worldview, to the Icelandic Sagas, Eddas and books of Law, this exhibition promises a celebration of Iceland’s rich manuscript culture.

The exhibition will be housed in a new, purpose-built hall at the heart of the new Árni Magnússon Institute building that also boasts a library, archival storage facilities, lecture spaces and offices.

The repatriation of the manuscript collection from Denmark commenced in the 1970s and the collection has been referred to as the ‘pyramids’ of Iceland, such is their significance.  Now, for the first time, they are accessible to the wider public. This immersive exhibition for the Árni Magnússon Institute will breathe life into these stunning artefacts and give them a permanent home of their own.


Mhairi Naismith, Design Director at Studio MB, said: “The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies is regarded as the single most important collection of early Scandinavian manuscripts in existence. It contains not only the unique narrative genre of the Icelandic Sagas, jewels of world literature, but also books that serve as the primary source of almost everything we know about Norse Mythology. Amongst many other things, the books also offer fascinating reflections of a Worldview held by people of the time, which is relatable yet wholly different to our modern way of looking at our world. Studio MB are honoured and delighted to have been appointed as the designers for the permanent exhibition of this extraordinary and unparalleled collection.”


Charlie Barr, Founding Director at Studio MB, said: “This exhibition is all about the books and what the words on the page tell us about who we are, the human experience; where we live, our place in the world, how we live, the rules by which we exist, set against a backdrop of what we believe.”


For more information, please visit: www.studiomb.co.uk

For all publicity enquiries, please contact Midas:

Anna Zanetti | anna.zanetti@midaspr.co.uk | +44 075 8312 7515