The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) will be unveiling a new furniture gallery this December, featuring an exhibit created by interactive design consultancy AllofUs. The interactive material display tables celebrate the unique qualities and characteristics of 32 different furniture materials.
Each material sample object has been beautifully designed and crafted to seduce visitors into touching them, and thereby gaining a rich and tactile understanding of their distinctive features and textures. This simple, intuitive, and engaging act triggers a digital display sequence of tailored content allowing visitors to discover more about the materials origins, production, and usage.
The 32 material sample objects have been thematically grouped, and placed around the edges of the two bespoke tables. Embedded within the centre of each table is a panoramic screen display. This arrangement encourages visitors to move around the tables, and interact with the material samples. There is no need for a mouse, keyboard or touchscreen, as all the interaction is built around the experiencing of the material qualities of each sample, the forming of personal haptic connections, the pleasure of tactility.
The interactive material tables are part of the V&A’s new furniture gallery – The Dr Susan Weber Gallery – open from December 1st, 2012. It presents 200 pieces from the museum’s outstanding collection of British and international furniture from the 15th century to the present day, focusing on the materials and techniques employed to create and decorate each piece.
The new gallery has been designed as part of the V&A’s FuturePlan to transform the museum through new galleries and redisplays of its collections. The scheme aims to create beautiful and contemporary new settings for the V&A’s collections while restoring much of the building’s original architecture and improving visitors’ experience of the museum. AllofUs is one of a number of collaborators with the V&A on FuturePlan.
Orlando Mathias, Creative Partner at AllofUs, said: “It’s been so brilliant to come up with a way of putting materials into the hands of visitors and helping them understand their characteristics and why designers have used them in the way that they have. We can’t wait to see how people respond to our interactive tables.”
Morna Hinton, Head of Gallery Interpretation at the V&A said: “Visitors will be able to activate digital content relating to a variety of materials by touching actual samples of the materials themselves. This mix of digital and tactile is a departure from the ways we have interpreted our collections in the past and is a bold undertaking for us but we are confident it will significantly enhance the visitor’s experience.”
Engineering and crafting of the objects and tables by Matt Linares of Linares Design.