Iconic history, told through modern day engagement, in a world-renowned institution.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) wanted an exhibition element as part of its two-year £30 million London headquarters renovation. The consultative brief turned to experiential installations rather than static displays, painting a dynamic, people-centred picture of modern engineering and conveying its multiplicity and value to the public. The pieces themselves had to exemplify state of the art engineering and draw visitors through the building with a clear narrative structure.
The institution’s desire to renovate its historic building led to an overhaul of its own identity and that of the perception of engineering in general. MET Studio set out to capture the spirit, values and vision of the IET, its building and the essence of what makes engineering important.
MET Studio deliberately avoided a traditional museum style exhibition, creating immersive and interactive experiences that reflect how engineers are constantly striving to progress. Engineers’ innovative approach and inventive nature became MET Studio’s core driver for the project.
A single separate piece was designed for the lobby of each of the building’s three floors, with the stairwells as the narrative links between past, present and future, leading visitors from Einstein to Elon Musk, to the top floor of mirrors showing the engineers of the future looking back at themselves. Each iconic display highlights an individual part of the story of the IET creating a strong narrative journey spread throughout the entire space as apposed to a single gallery.
Visitors and members are immediately ‘wowed’ as they enter the IET’s lobby beneath a large interactive digital ‘chandelier’ which responds to movement, portraying the five sectors of engineering: energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications and the built environment as a dynamic energy field.
MET Studio worked closely with members whose opinions were sought for the first floor ‘100 Ideas That Changed the World’ installation, which can be updated to keep pace with innovation. The second floor live digital display harvests engineering information in real time from sources around the world, dynamically using location and social media input to demonstrate the IET’s global reach.
The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions and originally formed in 1871 with a vision ‘to inspire, inform and influence the global engineering community’. It has over 167,000 members in 127 countries. MET Studio’s design for the recently launched exhibitions and installations enables the Institution to successfully look to the future whilst linking to its past.
‘MET Studio worked with us to help turn our vision for a ‘Global Engineering Hub’ into reality. Through a series of workshops and exercises, they devised a range of exhibits, which helped build visitors understanding of who the IET are, and the impact of our members around the world. The finished exhibits represent a clever balance between archive and digital items, and have been met with lots of positive feedback ever since we opened’. Simon Timmis, Senior Marketing manager for The Institution of Engineering and Technology.