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The London Transport Museum

Exhibit and Interaction Designer
Ralph Appelbaum Associates UK
2002

 

The London Transport Museum is considered to be one of London’s most iconic visitor attractions, home to a 150 year old story that contemporary Londoner’s experience on a daily basis.  The huge collection tells the story of how London’s Transport network has also defined the ‘look’ of London, transporting a very British sense of modernity out from the capital and into its suburbs.

When the museum decided it wanted a complete redesign, we felt it needed a ‘statement exhibit’ for the central court – a presence that would also double as a backdrop for events and transport-related news reports. Charged with developing the core idea, I began with the concept of a giant 3D map. The plan was to make it so large and detailed, people would feel as though they were seeing their city for the very first time.

The 25-foot-high map became a digital canvas for telling commuters stories, programmed as a series of ‘chapters’ that depicted different kinds of transportation. Animations of people’s journeys were projected onto the 3D surface, as a screen above showed videos filmed by hundreds of volunteers as they made their daily commute.

In retrospect, the design anticipated two technological themes – social media and satellite photography – and brought them together. Created years before Facebook and Google Earth, we developed an exhibit that still makes people wonder at the complexity of London and it’s transport networks.

The Connections Exhibit at The London Transport Museum