See the Unseen

A tall atrium space with sculptures of a volcano, a rocket, a helicopter and a t-rex.

10 stories tall, 8 custom designed sculptures, over 6,000 square feet of murals, dozens of LED video panels and no freight elevator. The massive scale, tight budget and even tighter install constraints combined to make this the most ambitious project I've been part of.

I had the pleasure of working with Roto as the project producer and saw the entire enterprise through from concept to installation. The client had a rough concept (“ocean to sky”) but it needed a compelling big idea to stitch it all together. Rather than look for similarities across all of the content, we focused on how people are able to know so much about all of these different parts of the world. This lead to the concept of science as a lens of discovery that allows us to see unseen mysteries in the world around us. This idea informed the design of the whole project and lead to the unique art direction for the sculptures. With this direction establish, we moved on to create an interpretive plan that worked with the big idea while creating designs that were achievable both in terms of budget and install-ability.

The facility's freight elevator didn't provide access to the atrium where the exhibit was to be installed so every part of the sculptures as well as all the installation equipment needed to fit through a slightly-larger-than-normal double door. This was especially daunting considering our sculptures included a whale, t-rex and a scale model of the Friendship 7 rocket, which needed to be installed 80 feet above the atrium floor. This along with an install window of only two weeks, meant that every part of the project was planned with installation in mind. The careful attention to install details paid off.

As we were assembling the last job box to ship home on the morning of the reopening, the first visitors to enter the atrium was a 4 year old and their mom. Their heads immediately shot back, taking in the 10-stories of colorful scientific wonder then the kid's eyes widened with recognition as they screamed "T-REX!" and took off running. The sight of the kid jumping up and down with excitement under that massive sculpture that I helped bring into existence is one of my proudest memories from my years creating museum exhibits.

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Photos courtesy of Roto Group LLC.