Ice Station Antarctica, a touring exhibition dedicated to the science behind the British Antarctic Survey devised by Land Design Studio, opens at London’s Natural History Museum this week.
Land Design Studio has been working on the project for more than four years, having been appointed to the project without a pitch, as a result of the Natural History Museum’s design framework. The family exhibition, the result of a collaboration between the Natural History Museum and the British Antarctic Survey, is intended to mark International Polar Year. BAS provided supporting images, objects, materials and video diaries for display.
Director of Land Design Studio Shirley Walker explains that one of the greatest challenges was coming up with a suitable concept. ‘We wanted to move away from simply recreating the Antarctic environment. The idea of a fictional ice station gets across the experience and the science behind BAS without the exhibition space becoming a white box,’ she says.
The concept had to be flexible enough to enable the display to be broken down into small components that would be suitable for touring throughout the UK and Europe without creating impossible logistics.
The narrative is developed around the ice station into a series of interactive challenges, which test the public’s ability to endure the harsh elements of Antarctic life. Land Design Studio came up with the idea of inflatable pods to mark out different aspects of the exhibition, which encompass a -10º cold room, a virtual skidoo, Antarctic wildlife and deep-sea diving equipment.
The identity for the exhibition, which was also created by Land Design Studio, has been carried through to the website (www.nhm.ac.uk) and merchandise material. ‘Creating a fictional brand – Ice Station Antarctica – meant that the graphics could be integrated throughout the exhibition,’ says Walker.
The exhibition will show at the Natural History Museum, London SW7 from 25 May to 31 January 2008.