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Disobedient Objects, V&A, London UK

Michael Grubb Studio was honoured to provide lighting design for the V&A and the Disobedient Objects exhibition.

The exhibition focused on the late 1970s to the present; a time that has brought new technologies, societal and political challenges. From Chilean folk-art textiles that document political violence to a graffiti-writing robot, defaced currency to giant inflatable cobblestones thrown at demonstrations in Barcelona, to a political video game about the making of mobile phones.

Disobedient Objects demonstrated how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity.

We proposed a lit environment that appreciated the narrative of the exhibition and the displayed objects. Our emphasis was to move away from traditional exhibition lighting design and adopt a theatrical lighting design approach. The objects and associated set design worked in harmony to create a more immersive visitor experience.

A natural daylight environment was created within the first space. Lighting was used to reinforce the structural poles with additional shadows being created to exaggerate the numbers on display. The second space was controlled to ensure large AV screen maintained focus, whilst providing impact to the large freestanding exhibits.

“The biggest challenge with the lighting of ‘Disobedient Objects’ was to ensure each object was seen clearly, yet not elevated to the status of a typical museum object by creating a spotlight. Michael Grubb Studio took this notion on board and worked confidently and efficiently to create the desired lighting experience, experimenting with the more dramatic lighting in the first section and gaining feedback from the internal team. The team at the V&A are extremely happy with the final results and feel the atmosphere created works perfectly with the content and design.” – Sarah Jameson, Exhibition Coordinator, V&A

“We were delighted to be appointed by the V&A for this first of a kind exhibition. The challenge of creating something new in terms of the lit environment was both appealing and a challenge. We are very proud of the final solution and extremely grateful for the support and enthusiasm of the in-house V&A design team.” – Michael Grubb


Victoria & Albert Museum

Scope of Works

Outline Proposals, Detailed Design & Production, Focusing & Commissioning

Design Team

Michael Grubb Studio


V&A Museum


London, UK