Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc. worked with the design staff at the National Aquarium to create an entry experience, supporting exhibits and a concluding interactive media experience that would immerse visitors in the newly titled “Blue Wonders” wing. The entry portal invites the visitor to enter the world of water with a dramatically lit, blue space and a beautifully complex soundscape. We updated the familiar bubble tubes with crisp, dynamic LED lighting and mirrored ceilings. Sculptural walls and alluring shadows from the undulating ceilings immerse visitors into the world of water where they can begin to examine their connection to the water and to the animals they will soon encounter.
Graphics in the space retain the simple modern design of the National Aquarium, preserving Clarendon, the sturdy, block serif that has been used since its opening in 1981. We updated the white-on-black style with color, larger text, and full height imagery. Translucent graphics around the animal identification computer monitors give a weightless quality to the kiosk while subtly introducing the content with an embossed headline.
Furniture in the underwater viewing area creates a comfortable resting place where visitors can relax and enjoy the 180° view of Blacktip Reef. Translucent bench backs and light maple horizontal benches washed in blue light underplay the furniture, keeping the focus upon the animals and the colorful reef upon entry while creating semi-private viewing experiences in the crowded space. Slim column covers fold down when needed to instantly create docent presentation spaces. Props and other presentation materials are stored in hidden drawers under the viewing platform.
The interactive, 20ft. long Word Wall is a place where visitors can contemplate their connection to water at the end of their visit to the Blue Wonders wing. Visitors compose poetry on individual computer touchscreens. Here they express their connection to water and the animals they have encountered. They can choose to attach a photo of themselves to their and send it to the public Word Wall where the compositions of previous visitors are collected and displayed. Here they literally join the community of people concerned with and connected to water.
Creative Partners Include:
Flux Studio - Lighting Design
Richard Lewis Media Group - AV Design
Whiting-Turner Contracting Group - General Contractor
Nelson White Systems, Inc. - AV Installation