The London Transport Museum
Exhibit and Interaction Designer
Ralph Appelbaum Associates UK
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.