Science Museum, London
The Science of Spying

  • Our role: lead design / concept design / design development / detailed design / technical drawing co-ordination / management of construction phases

    The Science of Spying is an interactive exhibition aimed at young families, devoted to modern espionage and offering an insight into spying techniques.

    Commissioned by the Science Museum's exhibition arm 'The Science of…', the exhibition is arranged into three zones which take visitors through a spy mission from initial recruitment to final escape from a hostile facility.

    The experience begins in the ticketing area outside the exhibition, designed to resemble an innocuous street scene. Once inside, visitors are confronted by the Spy Skills zone, designed as an area to test nine core requirements to be a professional spy. Spy Tech is the second zone, which plays with the concept of scale with three main units: a giant computer, two surveillance vans and an array of oversized illuminated keyboard keys, which vibrate and play harmonising noises when sat upon.

    The next zone, Spy World, offers a number of different narrative threads, playing with the concept of 'watcher and watched'. Visitors choose to undergo either a body or brain scan, which determines whether they exit into the 'front-of-house' Osteck lobby or 'behind-the-scenes' disused storeroom.

    Designing an exhibition that will travel throughout the world meant ensuring content is not specific to the UK and also making sure each element is as durable as possible. For example, the zigzagging walls in Spy World are demountable, and can be re-erected at any angle, simply with the addition of new joining elements.

    The exhibition was voted best children's visitor attraction 2007 by Time Out.