Plastics show at the Science Museum

The Science Museum is to kick off an exhibition next month charting 100 years of plastic-making since the invention of Bakelite, with design by Gitta Gschwendtner and Kerr Noble.

They were appointed to develop the space for the Plasticity show last November, following a credentials pitch against two undisclosed consultancies.

According to Gschwendtner, the brief was to create a design that will work in a ‘challenging’ narrow gallery space, while conveying a strong message about the content for a predominantly teenage target audience.

‘From a content point of view, the exhibition is trying to reflect what’s on the national curriculum for teenagers at the moment. And it’s important that the design creates a sense of excitement about that,’ she explains.

The design uses 3000 red PVC strips (pictured) to form dividers in the space. These can also be sold off after the exhibition to be reused or recycled.

More than 500 objects – including design classics such as early Bakelite products and up-to-the-minute innovations such as Toyota’s Green i-unit vehicle – will be shown for the first time. Environmental and sustainability issues will also be addressed with an installation and interactive exhibit showing the range of plastics used every day.

Susan Mossman, Science Museum exhibition curator and a writer on the early history of plastics, says, ‘This exhibition will allow visitors to consider the changes needed in the production and disposal of plastics to continue enjoying them in the future.’

The exhibition opens on 22 May and will run for 18 months.

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