V&A Museum: Interactive Material Tables

 

V&A Museum: Interactive Material Tables

 

AllofUs were approached by the V&A Museum to build a permanent interactive materials exhibit for their new furniture gallery, ‘The Dr Susan Weber Gallery.’

The brief was to create a pair of interactive tables that would sit in the centre of the gallery and would display a physical array of material samples that would allow visitors a hands-on approach to learning about the materials origins, properties and uses.

Using the concept of materiality as the focus of the installations, we strategically arranged 32 chosen material samples in eight clusters spanning the two tables. Each sample has been carefully crafted into its own unique sculptural form and finished to show contrasting surface treatments, thereby making it seductive to both the eye and to the touch. 

On each table, the clustered objects are arranged using asymmetric diamond grid formation that circles around two centrally embedded 46” screens, allowing for both an individual and shared experience. The digital content is arranged around the centre of the screens in an exciting and physical manner, providing passers-by with an attractive and inviting insight into the available content, encouraging them to discover more.

Given the seductive qualities of the samples, we created a haptic interface that celebrated and made use of both the material characteristics of the samples and the embodied knowledge gained from touching them. This allowed us to remove the need for keyboards, mice or touchscreens. Instead, we used the material samples themselves as the central input device that invited visitors to hold and explore the sample, thereby sparking questions and creating a rich haptic perception of each material and its unique characteristics.

This was achieved by embedding each of the 32 samples with minute photoresistors (light sensors) that could detect when the visitor’s hand was in contact with the held material. Thus, when visitors interact with the materials, digital objects gravitate towards them from the centre of the screen, providing rich content about the material they’re touching. 

The digital content is made relevant to the rest of the gallery by illustrating the use of these materials in select pieces of furniture displayed nearby, encouraging visitors to immediately use their new-found knowledge, stimulating further exploration of the gallery space and its collection of 200 pieces of British and international furniture from the 15th century to the present day. 

I was responsible for the interaction and physical design, content, and project direction.

Installation View

Installation View

Installation View

Installation View

Table Detail View

Table Detail View

Material Detail View

Material Detail View

Material Detail View

Material Detail View

Installation in Use

Installation in Use

Installation in Use

Installation in Use

Installation in Use

Installation in Use

Installation in Use

Installation in Use

Material Sample Object Collection

Material Sample Object Collection

Install of Table

Install of Table

Early Prototype

Early Prototype

Object Prototype

Object Prototype

Table Interface

Website Homepage

Website Homepage

Website Aluminium Page

Website Aluminium Page

Website Aluminium Page (transition)

Website Aluminium Page (transition)

Website Aluminium Page

Website Aluminium Page