Life Online Exhibition at National Media Museum opens
design consultancy, exhibition design, Museum Design
Life Online is a new exhibition at the National Media Museum, exploring the social, technological and cultural impact of the internet. It traces its history, from the first experimental messages to the rise of modern social networking, discovering how it has changed lives and tracking latest trends on line. It is powered by ideas, thoughts and opinions of both physical and virtual visitors, creating an invaluable public archive of society's relationship with the internet. A range of interactives explore the story of the internet, whilst a timeline of objects showcases the evolution of internet and computing technology. The introduction of an exhibition within a glazed area, where control of daylight is non-existent, with different floor levels, no walls and difficulties in controlling ambient sound, defined major challenges from the outset. The fact that interactive technologies must function throughout the space and the issue of representing the virtual world of the internet within a built environment made this a unique and interesting brief. Lead Designer Roy Crone of NRN Design, brought together a creative team, including Graphic Designer Rachael Lightowler and Creative Narrator Andy Spence, working with the Museum’s team headed by Joe Brook. The name Life Online was agreed at the early stages and the gallery identity developed around it. This informed the design of the built environment, most noticeably in the use of the forward slash from angles of walls to construction details. The intention from the outset was for visitors to view and interact with the content therefore the space must provide a neutral environment allowing visitors to self-navigate. The design is very much a journey, but it was recognised that visitors have different objectives so the alignment and positioning of walls, interactives and object displays help people through the space. The floor was levelled and an object display trench formed, depicting a time line of computing from the 1970s to the modern day. Freestanding displays were designed between the structures of the glass to the front wall and although each fixture is bespoke, they are visually linked allowing the exhibition of AVs, interactives and graphics. The use of materials throughout is clean, timeless and robust. A white backdrop, black and white glass with stainless steel and large floor tiles allow the content and colours therein to come to the foreground. RGBA LEDs are used to colour-code the mood of the content. Interactive terminals positioned below large-scale overhead projection units, the Cloud Browsers, allow visitors to immerse themselves in a rich multi-media archive. The design allows content to be projected onto screens above visitors’ heads whilst the structure provides shade from unwanted daylight. The content represents a mix of an ever-growing collection of video, images and pages from websites around the world, plus articles written by the museum’s curators.
, exhibition design
, Museum Design