Natural order
One of our early challenges was organising and working out what content and product to reuse or repurpose, and how this could feed into a coherent concept and vision. We developed a design strategy to re-imagine the space with four key principles: Less is actually more, Material is the message, Naturally inclusive & active, and Always sharing and learning.

Our creative concept was inspired by the history and visual language of collecting: monochromatic line illustrations, characterful serif typography and a colour palette to draw on the historical and imagine the future. We worked closely with the brand-new museum identity whilst ensuring the gallery developed its own personality. We wanted the design elements to reflect the museum’s heritage value whilst respecting the organisation as the modern scientific establishment it is.

Material is the message
Materials were key to telling the story and delivering the message – from new structural ‘fins’ made from reclaimed timber by a local social enterprise to our use of Eco-mesh – we thoroughly considered the purpose of each addition and the credentials of each material. We also maximised the re-use of existing structures to minimise carbon impact in; re-locating and re-skinning rather than producing new.

Naturally inclusive and active
We introduced key interventions such as a kids activity area made locally with 100% recycled post-consumer plastic. This was made from spools left over from fabric trade and, due to it being locally sourced also meant less transport emissions.

We designed the all-new kids’ game ‘whose poo’ to re-invigorate a dark and under used corner and provide fun and engaging education around one of the most important biological functions.

We also installed a brand-adjacent set of campaign banners to raise awareness around global environmental and social issues. These were designed, in stark contrast to the vibrant, warm colours of the gallery, in mono black and white to invoke a more serious tone around environmental issues.

Always sharing and learning
Saved 1.4 tonnes of carbon with our design decisions – e.g. specifying waste acrylic from our suppliers. Working closely with suppliers throughout was essential and as always Ltd. were brilliant collaborators – helping us find ways to save carbon and cost, whilst learning all the way.

We set out a baseline carbon figure for re-fit in the Museum and guidance on best practice will be shared across other museums in the group. Working with local social enterprise to deliver the wooden elements – reduced travel, local economy, recycled wood and learning for the SE too – working with designers.

The Herbarium Cafe
The cafe represented a great opportunity to display the hidden botanical gems of the museum. We closely collaborated with the museum curators Clare Brown and Rebecca Machin to dig into the museum archives and pick a beautiful selection that came to life in a form of a unique bespoke pattern. We used it around the space bringing walls to live with wallpaper and supergraphics. The Café Herbarium is currently under works and will be ready to view soon.

A much neater and clearer navigation space with new a whole new interpretation based in sustainable and accessible principles. As part of the aim to create the closer to Net Zero Carbon exhibition, the whole project is currently undergoing a carbon footprint audit run by our sister company Useful Projects.