Electricity: The spark of life

This exhibition is a collaboration between the Wellcome Collection, the Teylers Museum (Haarlem) and the Museum of Science and Industry (Manchester) where the exhibition will tour to over the next two years. It chronicles the story from the discovery of static electricity, through to self-sustaining cities, thematically exploring society’s fascination with this phenomena and its inextricable connection to life and death.

Inspired by the international network of electrical grids, the design can be seen as a series of shifting pylon structures that transform from freestanding individual tables, to vertical towers supporting a network of lighting grids and finally to simplified outlines of a utopian cityscape. The evolving structural grid is complemented by an adapting palette of materials that takes the visitor on a journey through landscapes of academia, industry and consumerism. The modular table display system was designed to be adaptable to the requirements of this touring exhibition, and we collaborated with graphic designers Hyperkit to incorporate a labelling system into their design.

Three pavilions showcase large scale artworks by John Gerrard, Bill Morrison and Camille Henrot. The exhibition reflects upon the potential of electricity to offer a sustainable global outlook, and in keeping with this overall theme, the design incorporates a bespoke cladding material, specially fabricated from recycled electrical goods and cables. In addition, we worked closely with the lighting designers Arup to source the majority of the luminaries in the exhibition to be recycled from the 2016 British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.