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BBC Earth Experience, London, UK

BBC Earth Experience is a unique and unforgettable audio-visual journey across the natural world and seven continents. Recently opened, this experience features breath-taking footage and music from the BBC Studios Natural History Unit television series Seven Worlds, One Planet, with bespoke narration by David Attenborough.

Created by MoonEye Productions UK Limited with architectural design by wooarchitects and contractor project management by ES Global, this 360-degree audio visual journey is projected on multiple screens using the latest digital screen technology. Located at the Daikin Centre, a purpose-built venue in London’s Earl’s Court, this immersive experience transforms the environment from the city and allows visitors to step into the heart of the natural world.

Michael Grubb Studio were appointed by wooarchitects to provide the design and delivery of the lighting scheme for the external landscape, façade, and internal exhibition areas. Due to the nature of the event, a key part of the brief was to focus on the sustainability which was one of the leading lighting principles.

To create a sustainable design, Michael Grubb Studio kept light levels minimal where possible and mitigated light pollution and glare to the surrounding areas. A unique factor of this project is that it is also designed to be modular so that the experience can be taken apart and reintroduced in a different area to save on any wastage. The studio incorporated modular, durable, and high-quality light fittings to meet the sustainability agenda.

Michael Grubb Studio worked closely with Fira Landscape Architects and Urban Design to ensure the correct positioning of fittings leading up to the venue, to highlight the key landscape and showcase the growth of plant life as visitors walk along the route.

As visitors approach the venue, the façade lighting highlights the word ‘experience’ to draw attention from West Brompton station and the walk from Emperor’s Place. The external main elements of the façade are created using uplights at 30-degree angles to the timber struts, and linear lighting which illuminates the underside of the canopy. This vertical lighting marries up with the vertical interior lighting design at the lockers and shopfront areas.

A minimal approach was taken to the interior gallery spaces, ensuring flexibility and simple control. DALI lighting control was used across the site to set levels for the transition between day and night. In the main gallery the only light source comes from the large AV screens, so it was important to introduce darker atmospheric lighting to the inside spaces so that the transition feels natural.

Kevin Owens, Founder of wooarchitects: “The lighting design for the BBC Earth Experience by Michael Grubb Studio was critical for enhancing the visitor experience of the location. A great deal of sensitivity had to be applied to help reflect the journey with its variety of moods; from anticipation upon the approach, to reflection and wonder at the exhibition narrative. The illumination of the building’s façade wording was one of our core design concepts providing a focal point which can be seen in the surrounding areas, acting as a beacon, reinforcing a sense of place for the meanwhile development.”

Mike Cascarino, Head of London Studio of Michael Grubb Studio: “The Studio was honoured to create a lighting scheme for such a renowned client and experience. The lighting design has helped contribute to the immersive nature of the experience through atmospheric light levels and has also helped meet the brief of providing a modular and sustainable design which can be adapted and reused.”

Project credits:

Client: MoonEye Productions UK Limited
Contractor: ES Global
Architects: wooarchitects
Landscape Architects: Fira Landscape Architecture and Urban Design
MEP and Engineering Consultants: Griffiths Evans
Lighting Design: Michael Grubb Studio
Photographer: Mike Massaro