A Colorado-Inspired Exhibit for Denver Botanic Gardens
How do you create an exhibit that’s a natural extension of nature?
The mission of the Denver Botanic Gardens is to educate, entertain, and enlighten visitors by connecting them with plants. When the Gardens opened its Science Pyramid to highlight the institution’s scientific research and conservation efforts, they teamed up with Second Story, a part of Razorfish, to create the permanent exhibit Learning to See and bring to life the stories hidden within Colorado’s landscape.
Conceptually, we wanted to create an installation that felt like a natural extension of the geography, landscapes, and plants of Colorado. Tall, slender interactive pylons were designed to evoke the feeling of an aspen glade, and contrast of scale was used to mimic the state’s vast elevation differences. Three interactive tables, boulder-like in form, provided grounding information and were surrounded by tree-like pylons that each host individual interactive experiences.
The narrative of the Learning to See exhibit asks visitors to shift their perspective from viewing the natural world as a beautiful backdrop to recognizing their own interconnectedness with the plant life around them.
Activated surfaces throughout the space respond to the temperature and wind speed in the Gardens through color and animation, with technology serving as a bridge between the Pyramid’s interior and the natural world just outside.
In 2014, the Denver Botanic Gardens became the most popular garden in North America. Visitorship increased by more than 500,000 thanks in part to the opening of “Learning to See,” according to CEO Brian Vogt.
- 1.4M annual visitors to Denver Botanic Gardens
- Pixel AwardsWinner, Installations & Activations, February 2016
- AIGA CasedWinner, December 2015
- HOW International Design AwardsMerit, Kiosks/Interactive Exhibits, November 2015
- SEGD Global Design AwardsMerit Award, Dynamic Environments, June 2015
- IDEA AwardsFinalist, Environments: Museum Exhibits & Set Designs, May 2015
- Communicator AwardsSilver Award of Distinction, Interactive Multimedia: Education, April 2015