Know Fear, 2012

To design an experience through a narrative and interactive exhibition

This is my favorite project from my environmental design class during college. This was a three person group project to design a two floor exhibition on a chosen topic. We picked the topic, phobias. The exhibition would be hosted at the Boston Museum of Science as their mission is to enhance the bond between the public, and science and technology. The exhibition would show on October 14th, which is an ideal time for people looking for something fun, informative, and educational around Halloween and before Thanksgiving.

My main role was designing environmental concepts, floor plans, sourcing model materials, and building the 1:50 scale model. I played smaller roles in other collaterals like, exhibition branding, wayfinding graphics, web and mobile design, and process book design.

To communicate and visualize different types of phobias, the first floor would have a high contrast visual style, with varying type treatments that integrate with their relevant phobias, and informative films. The second floor would have large installations of specific phobias, Rorschach painting quizzes, and other situations that engage the senses through our various phobia rooms. We divided the exhibition into four sections:

  1. Introduction of phobias (definitions, diagnosis, symptoms)

  2. Causes of phobias (statistics, case studies, experiences, observations)

  3. Categories (animals, bodily, situations, environments, other/misc)

  4. Conclusion (interactive activities and phobia map)

The idea behind the color palette (black, grey, purple, lime green, beige) is reminiscent of the ebbs and flows of the fear cycle to make the viewer feel uncomfortable: bright green is used for bringing attention to areas of interest, while the beige color is used to give some consistency and represent calmness. In order to inspire fear and lack of comfort, the architecture of the exhibit is based on triangles. The erratic triangle motif is also used for content to inspire anxiety and panic by fracturing the images.

This was my first time making a scale model (apart from my hobby of building nanoblocks), but I am glad that it really challenged me to push my limits: pulling occasional all-nighters for two weeks, sipping on tea, eating cup noodles, and going through countless x-acto blades cutting foam core boards. All in all, I really enjoyed making the scale model. My favorite part was sourcing materials to create texture for each phobia board: played around with acrylic paint media/additives to achieve a bumpy texture for a spider leg for Arachnophobia (fear of spiders), cut hair from a wig for Chaetophobia (fear of hair), lined each phobia board edge with 0.25" of reflective paper so the viewer could catch a glimpse of themselves and other things while walking around the exhibit. 

Handmade by yours truly, and made in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.