Designing the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition

Gabrielle Underwood and A Plus B are behind the design of the annual Wildlife Photography of the Year exhibition, which has returned to London’s Natural History Museum and is celebrating its 50th year.

Wildlife Photogrpaher of the Year exhibition designed by Gabrielle Underwood and A Plus B

Source: Greanleaf Photography 

This year the exhibition’s ‘lightbox’ concept has been developed  and there is a new interpretive design using a ‘continuous ribbon’. The exhibition itself features several new interactive elements.

The designers won a joint invitation-only pitch in March for a concept, which included plans for the museum’s South Kensington site as well as international and touring versions of the exhibition.

Wildlife Photogrpaher of the Year exhibition designed by Gabrielle Underwood and A Plus B

Source: Greanleaf Photography

Gabrielle Underwood has worked on the spatial design and art direction, with A Plus B designing graphics and the digital experience.  

Each photograph in the exhibition is back-lit by a vertical lightbox, which is integrated into temporary walls.

Wildlife Photogrpaher of the Year exhibition designed by Gabrielle Underwood and A Plus B

Source: Greanleaf Photography

The winning photographs form a central structure, which sits higher than the other photographs and glows brighter.

Radiating out from this, an uplit fabric ribbon weaves in and out of other photographs, which are grouped together by theme.

Wildlife Photogrpaher of the Year exhibition designed by Gabrielle Underwood and A Plus B

Source: Greanleaf Photography

Gabrielle Underwood says: “The idea was to have a warm glowing central area showing the winners at the centre, with thematic areas pivoting out from the this.”

There is a “preferred or suggested route”, Underwood says, but as there will be thousands of people visiting and some sections will be busier than others, visitors can pass through openings in the ribbon and move in and out from the central glowing orb, which is visible from most points.

Wildlife Photogrpaher of the Year exhibition designed by Gabrielle Underwood and A Plus B

Source: Greanleaf Photography

Information about the photographs including where and when they were taken is written on a graphic panel underneath each image.

A Plus B developed all graphic and digital elements as part of the overall exhibition scheme. Interactives include the “attractor” at the beginning of the exhibition, a moving image display which gives an insight into 50 years of the exhibition.

Wildlife Photogrpaher of the Year exhibition designed by Gabrielle Underwood and A Plus B

Source: Greanleaf Photography

There is also a cinema room and a touch-screen interactive, which allows visitors to access an archive of previous winners as well as “The People’s Choice” – those photographs that the public favoured but didn’t make the final 100 on display.

An app has been developed for use within the exhibition. If a visitor finds a large crowd around an image, they can tap a code into their phone, which unlocks information on the photograph

Wildlife Photogrpaher of the Year exhibition designed by Gabrielle Underwood and A Plus B

Source: Greanleaf Photography

There are seated areas to encourage visitors to move away from crowds and view this information.

Underwood says: “Over recent years the show has developed a strong brand and to celebrate the 50th competition we wanted to evolve this design identity and reinvigorate the visitor’s experience.

Wildlife Photogrpaher of the Year exhibition designed by Gabrielle Underwood and A Plus B

Source: Greanleaf Photography

“The spatial and graphic design creates a fluid ribbon on which the photographs are showcased – a motif that flows through into the digital platform, to create a seamless physical-digital experience.”

Wildlife Photogrpaher of the Year exhibition

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition runs at the Natural History Museum until August 2015.

Wildlife Photogrpaher of the Year exhibition
Marsel Van Oosten

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