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Museums, Offices, Hospitals, Education


Chicago, IL

Exhibition Designer

Evidence Design

Museum of Science and Industry

Focus Lighting’s design for the newly opened Science Storms at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago creates a dramatic interactive environment where guests can explore the science behind powerful forces of nature including tornados, avalanches, fire, tsunamis and sunlight. In collaboration with lead exhibition designer Evidence Design, Focus Lighting helped shape a space intended to inspire Museum guests, especially young people, by allowing them to have fun while learning about fundamental concepts of science and nature.

Enclosed by a twilight-blue surround, the permanent 26,000-square-foot exhibit uses dramatic lighting to showcase large-scale experiments where guests can interact with some of nature’s most compelling phenomena. Guests can stand before and manipulate a 40-foot tall column of swirling vapor and light to experience the forces that cause tornados. A Tesla Coil that replicates bolts of lightning overhead is grazed in amber light to make its copper coils stand out against the dark blue ceiling. Spotlights shoot 60 feet down through large liquid-filled disks and project ripple patterns on the floor to allow exploration of liquid wave dynamics. One exhibit incorporates tennis balls that shoot from one side of the hall to the other in a study of projective motion. In order to avoid washing out other nearby exhibits or creating glare in patrons’ eyes, Focus Lighting utilized ultraviolet lights to brightly light the yellow balls without the unwanted effects of conventional lighting.

In addition to architectural and general exhibit lighting, Focus Lighting helped design and develop several exhibits that let visitors explore the science of light and color. Thanks to outstanding collaboration between the Museum and first-rate exhibit partners, these and other exhibits make Science Storms at the Museum of Science and Industry a groundbreakingexperience that Museum guests won’t soon forget.

Science Storms is brought to you through the generosity of The AllstateCorporation, The Allstate Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. David W. Grainger, and The Grainger Foundation. Additional major funding has been provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information, visit the Museum of Science and Industry website.