Natural History Museum seeks designer for £300,000 installation project

Designers will work on two to three major installations for an exhibition centred around space exploration which will be aimed at 8-14-year-olds.

The Natural History Museum (NHM) is seeking an installation designer to create two to three major interactive installations for an exhibition on space exploration.

Space: The Search for Life is the working title of NHM’s forthcoming major temporary exhibition due to open in May 2025 in the 800 sqm Waterhouse Gallery. The exhibition will run for around seven months and will be aimed at families with children aged 8-14.

Its main objective it to explore the search for life in our universe and the NHM says it will be “object-rich” and feature “star objects” from its meteorite collection alongside loan objects. AV, interactive and immersive exhibits will be used throughout to bring the story to life.

NHM has conducted several rounds of audience research for other proposed space-related exhibitions and experiences dating back to 2005. From this research, it has consistently found these topics to be “of greatest interest”: impacts, origins of life on Earth, habitability of other planets, and original visuals.

The successful designer will work alongside the NHM exhibition team, responding to the interpretation and design briefs to design and build two to three major interactive installations to be integrated into the overall exhibition design. The chosen designer may also be required to contribute to a small number of other interactive exhibits to ensure a cohesive look and feel is present throughout, although the prototyping, production or build of these other interactive exhibits will not be in their remit.

NHM wants these installations to be “once-in-a-lifetime experiences that visitors won’t forget” and will not be able to do it elsewhere. The brief also says the installations must have “a sense of physicality” that play with “scale, the space and multisensory qualities” and not be solely two dimensional digital or AV experiences.

While the design work will be driven by the science content and narrative of the exhibition, the brief says it should be “evocative and emotional” and go beyond conveying content. Designers must also consider how to make the installations multi-layered and engaging for both eight-year-olds and adults.

The fixed fee budget is £300,000 is inclusive of all deliverables, disbursements, travel, expenses, costs and charges (excluding VAT).

The contract is due to start on 8 January 2024 and end on 30 June 2024. Applications must be entered by 13 November 2023 and more information can be found on Delta.

Banner and featured image credit: elRoce on Shutterstock 

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