Project type: Exhibition Design
Location: Travelling Exhibition, U.S.A
Client: Exhibit Q
Size: 5,000 sqft
Costs: 750,000 $
Photos: Ricky Ridecos
Living lights -a traveling exhibit
Glow: Living lights is a traveling exhibition about bioluminescence, geared for the Science Museums in the United States. In its six-year tour from 2003 to 2009 it visited San Diego, Washington, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other major cities. The problems of transport, durability and the subject matter – animals and plants that glow in the dark – were the starting points for the development of this exciting project.
The first decision was to envision the exhibition as a city, rather than a system of traditional walls with attached panels and objects. The possibility of different urban scenarios and experiences – the plaza, the street, the park – was supposed to free the visitors from the limitations of the sacred museum space and make them wander around, spend more time and find their own path between to objects. The design had to be made out of large objects, in order to fulfill this criterion.
As the exhibition stopped in app. 18 different museums, it had to be able to work in radically different spaces and contexts. The individual objects had to be strong enough to create a remarkable statement in a space from the 18th, as well as the 19th or 20th century. It had to work in a long hall, a square space, or a series of rooms. The size and uniqueness of the objects had to be strong enough to make the context secondary.
As the show had to travel several times through the United States, transport as well as set up were of importance. The creation of 19 self-contained blocks allowed the set up time to be minimized. After their placement in the space they just had to be plugged in – the show was ready to go. Another challenge was the transport in standard shipping containers. This was resolved by the idea of a three-dimensional puzzle. All blocks fit into each other and together in the containers – the transport was optimized. Through this decision, the spatial tension between the neighboring objects, mirroring each other, was also strengthened.
Another aspect was the durability and the ecological friendliness of the used materials. Felt is a 90% recycled, natural product and an excellent sound absorbent. Another choice was techno gel, a new high-tech product, also from recycled materials. Both materials are also very soft – an important aspect in an exhibition that is very dark.