Wonderlab, Science Museum, UK
Michael Grubb Studio’s experience and knowledge with lighting exhibitions and light installations now includes an iconic British space. The £6 million permanent gallery, Wonderlab opened in October 2016 within the Science Museum, London and recognised as the museum’s most ambitious children’s’ interactive science initiative.
Initial discussions began with the museum in January 2015 following recognition that Michael Grubb Studio had the expertise to deliver the museums vision. The focus was a host of ideas and light projections, plus a lighting scheme, which mixed the theatrical nature of elements of the gallery with daylight and playfulness. This provided a ‘high’ end feel to a children’s interactive gallery.
We worked directly with architecture / art studio, Muf, and with the museum to create a gallery that allows visitors to interact and experiment with over 50 interactive exhibits.
Our focus was a series of micro science projects. This meant considerable prototyping, such as the discovery of LED components and using many non-standard products.
A key moment within the gallery is the monochromatic room. Michael Grubb Studio were commissioned to deliver the educational experience. This meant creating an immersive experience that allowed visitors the chance to understand how light is broken down into specific wavelengths. It also looked at how they respond to different colours of everyday objects. This was a huge challenge and required precise wavelengths of red, green and blue light.
Lead Curator, Interactive Galleries from the Science Museum, Toby Parkin, explained the necessity for research to lead to peace of mind, “Within the Science Museum, there is no scope for change. We had to be 100% confident that people would engage and learn.
“We tested on more than 1,000 people by conducting observations and interviews. This would lead to peace of mind and that the efforts from Michael Grubb Studio reflected the reward that the time invested was worthwhile.”
“This is a learning journey that we both embarked on. We had not worked with a lighting design consultancy in this way before. It was reassuring that when we opened our doors people will learn what we expect them to learn.”
The role of testing becoming a learning process is echoed by Liza Fior, Partner at Muf Architecture. Liza highlighted, “Once meetings shifted to delivery there was an opportunity for prototyping. Which was a real pleasure.”
“A process-based approach can be a worry when budgets and time are tight and as Toby says, “there was no scope for change”. We were lucky to work with Michael Grubb Studio.”
Wonderlab is now a showpiece for an iconic museum. Our intention is to inspire young people and anyone that participates within the gallery. It has been an honour to work on such a concise and detailed project.
Science Museum Group
Scope of Works
Science Museum Group
Michael Grubb Studio