As museums and visitor attractions prepare to open their doors to avid arts and culture fans once again, we can hardly wait to wander round a gallery, or learn something new from an exciting museum display. In wilful anticipation, we thought we’d take a quick trip down memory lane and provide a little bit of inspiration with some of the most imaginative museum displays from the last decade.
Random International’s Rain Room at The Curve, Barbican London
3 October 2012–4 March 2013
We’re pretty sure the title is self explanatory as to why we think this exhibition was ground-breaking. It rained. Indoors.
Already famed for their new take on digital contemporary, Random International’s Rain Room experience was their most ambitious yet. The exhibit appealed to every one of visitors’ senses and beyond - from hearing the water, to touching the raindrops and being able to control their movement with innovative technology. The rain literally responded to visitors’ presence as they walked through. Part science experiment, part art installation, and part meditative retreat, the Rain Room was memorable for sure.
Barbican Rain Room - Credit: Felix Clay
Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy of Arts, London
19 September — 13 December 2015
World renowned artist Ai Weiwei took over the RA’s main galleries with a diverse exhibition of brave, provocative and visionary works. Much excitement preceded the show, with a successful kick-starter raising over £100k to bring Weiwei’s monumental Tree to the RA’s courtyard - at 6.8m tall, the sculptural piece was created from the dry, dead branches, roots and trunks of numerous species of tree that the artist gathered from across the mountainous southern region of his native China. Once you actually stepped foot inside the RA, Weiwei’s exhibition was a new breed for the visitor. With so many different mediums, materials and textures curated throughout, the show was described to “reveal art’s greatest potential” by The Times, and we couldn’t agree more.
New Old: Designing for our Future Selves at the Design Museum, London
12 January - 13 February 2017
Following the Design Museum's move to its shiny new location in Kensington, Service Graphics were pleased to print, install and project manage the build of "New Old". The exhibition explored the possibilities and capabilities of design for helping people lead fuller, healthier and more rewarding lives into old age. Featuring everything from autonomous vehicles to robotic clothing, visitors were able to take a look into the future and discover how design might benefit and tackle the challenges arising from an aging population.
New Old at the Design Museum, London
Get Up, Stand Up Now at Somerset House, London
12 Jun – 15 Sep 2019
Curator Zak Ové invited 110 Black Artists who work across a range of media to exhibit in a celebration of the past 50 years of Black creativity in Britain and beyond. Highlights included an original soundtrack by Trinidadian DJ, producer and member of Major Lazer, Jillionaire, which was streamed throughout the exhibition, and a colourful contemplation space titled “Shrine to Wisdom” by Victor Ekpuk featuring floor to ceiling murals of glyphs inspired by ancient Nigerian writing systems.
Described as “Unmissable” by the Evening Standard, the exhibition was a vibrant display of work across many impressive genres of expertise, which also called into question the lack of diversity in the art galleries.
Victor Ekpuk - "Shrine to Wisdom" Credit: Peter Macdiarmid
Wonderlab at the Science and Media Museum, Bradford
Designed as an immersive learning experience for children aged 5-13, the Wonderlab encourages their visitors to “step into a world of wonder, where what you see and hear is only the beginning…” while thinking like a scientist and feeding their curiosity.
Exhibits include a twisty, turny mirror maze, a 6ft sphere that enables an inquisitive audience to look closer at the sun’s surface, and a sound lab. The latter housing a range of mini experiments to explore - a voice manipulation vocoder, sound reflection station and even the chance to hear music through your teeth!
We’re pleased to have been able to provide the displays on show in the Wonderlab, including lenticular graphics, brought to life by visitors moving through the exhibition.
Wonderlab at the Science and Media Museum
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the V&A London
14 March - 2 August 2015
A celebration of the late Alexander McQueen, Savage Beauty explored the designer’s sheer range. The retrospective featured decade upon decade of work, exploring the powerful themes McQueen brought to life through his clothing - from romanticism, gothic and nationalism to Atlantis, nature and exoticism. The show was curated to mimic some of the most iconic McQueen runway shows, including VOSS from Spring/Summer 2001 which was also known as the ‘Asylum’ show. Staged inside a vast two-way mirrored box, the audience was reflected in the glass before the show began but, once it started, the trapped models couldn’t see out. A worthy tribute, made even more poignant by being located in the heart of London - McQueen’s world.
Much as we’ve loved seeing innovative ideas from the many cultural venues who’ve managed to fill the enforced gap by putting on digital events, nothing will replace being able to walk through, see exhibits up close, or even touch some displays yourself.
Looking forward to opening?
Whether you're a museum looking to switch up your exhibition spaces, or an events organiser looking forward to putting on shows again, Service Graphics' all-in-one approach to client collaborations mean we'll be with you every step of the way - from consulting on creative elements, to installation and project management.
As for creating displays that are just as imaginative as these ones, we have many products to choose from that can get you up there. These include our NEW Magnwall system that features grid-free, intelligent technology and is fully flexible to the ever-changing demand on visitor experiences. Magnwall’s custom kit is built with you in mind, and is fully re-usable, making it the perfect sustainable solution.
We can also consult on your “Covid-Secure” premises strategy, with our extensive range of distancing tools, sanitation points and signage that are fully brandable and designed to withstand continuous public traffic.
Let us help you get ready to welcome those much-missed fans, tourists, visitors and culture geeks back through your doors! Contact Service Graphics today to get started.