Met Studio works on anti-addiction museum in Mexico

Met Studio has created interiors and exhibition design for the Museo Interactivo Sobre Las Adicciones, a museum dealing with the effects of addiction, which is due to open in May in the Mexican city of Culiacàn.

The consultancy was commissioned to work on the museum by the Mexican government in May 2009. Met Studio had previously worked on a similar project at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Drug Information Centre.

Met Studio worked with American consultancy Academy Studios on the project, with the US group developing the production drawings.

Both consultancies were briefed to create designs for the MIA centre that would allow schools and families to find out more about drugs and other addictions, and the culture and dangers that surround them, says Met Studio founder Alex McCuaig.

The Mexican government wanted the centre to foster a community feel, so the space also includes cafés, a theatre for public debates and retail outlets, and has a young, ’cool’ visual language, says McCuaig.

On the first floor of the three-storey building, Met Studio has created a number of immersive exhibits to show the effects of each drug or addiction.

To show the claustrophobic properties of cocaine, Met Studio has created a nightclub installation, which visitors can enter in groups of two or three. Once inside, the temperature of the room rises, the music gets louder and the doors are locked in an attempt to show the paranoia the drug can cause, says McCuaig.

Met Studio has also designed another installation on the theme of sex addiction, whereby users put on a pair of glasses which track the movement of the eye.

While the visitor watches a film of a naked couple, the path of their eyes is recorded and shown on to a screen for other visitors to see.

To show the addictive nature of gambling, the consultancy has created a game whereby players receive a prize for a win, but are given a small electric shock if they lose.

McCuaig says, ’It’s an exhibition that you’d struggle to get away with in the UK.’

The look and feel of the interiors is lively and contemporary, in keeping with the new building, which has been designed by architect Point Rouge, says McCuaig.

He adds, ’Downstairs is like a funfair, with bright lights and a very fun environment – it’s all very in your face. That energy doesn’t leave you until you get upstairs.’

On the second floor of the centre, Met Studio has created a calmer area exploring the physical and cultural issues surrounding a number of addictions, which more closely resembles a traditional exhibition set-up, says McCuaig.

Background to Mexico’s MIA

  • Met Studio worked closely with local scientists on the content of the exhibition, which is split into three sections – person, substance and place
  • Met Studio has created a tunnel to the centre’s entrance. Holes have been punched into the tunnel, so as the sun shines through the dot matrix of holes, it spells relevant words inside the tunnel
  • The centre also features large-scale sections of healthy and smokers’ lungs, which visitors can walk through to see the physical damage smoking causes
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