The Deep, the award-winning aquarium and ocean study centre in Kingston-upon-Hull, opens its £6.5m CsÃ¡ky Associates-designed Twilight Zone exhibition this weekend.
The project has been in development for two years and is the world’s largest display of life forms from a region of the ocean where sunlight fails to penetrate, known to scientists as the twilight zone.
CsÃ¡ky Associates was responsible for the design of The Deep’s original £4m, 2000m2 interior exhibition, which sits inside a Terry Farrell & Partners-designed building on the banks of the Humber Estuary. The group was appointed without a tender to create the extension, which doubles the number of tanks at the centre.
As part of the scheme for the Twilight Zone exhibition, CsÃ¡ky has developed additional retail space, covered queuing areas and doubled the educational facilities.
‘[The exhibition] aims to conjure up a world that is less familiar to most people than the surface of Mars. It concentrates specifically on an area about 1000m below sea level, where very strange-looking creatures come up to feed,’ says consultancy managing director John CsÃ¡ky.
A central component of the design is a theatre experience that uses models, film, special effects, fibre-optics and sound to create an eerie, echoless environment.
‘The light level is low, with layered walls and backlit panels,’ says CsÃ¡ky, who worked with lighting specialists DHA Design.
The project was led by CsÃ¡ky Associates senior designer Andrew Wood-Walker. Graphic designer Nick Foote created the exhibition’s graphics.
The Deep is a £45.5m Millennium Commission project that has attracted 1.7m visitors since opening in March 2002.