Denver Botanic Gardens

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.

A perspective shift—from viewing nature as a beautiful backdrop to recognizing our own relationship with it.

Chris DeWan
Design Director • Second Story, a part of Razorfish


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.

The natural beauty of Colorado influenced every design decision we made.

Chris DeWan
Design Director • Second Story, a part of Razorfish


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

It’s immersive, elegant, restrained, and full of delightful details.

Design Jury
AIGA Awards
  • Pixel Awards
    Winner, Installations & Activations, February 2016
  • AIGA Cased
    Winner, December 2015
  • HOW International Design Awards
    Merit, Kiosks/Interactive Exhibits, November 2015
  • SEGD Global Design Awards
    Merit Award, Dynamic Environments, June 2015
  • IDEA Awards
    Finalist, Environments: Museum Exhibits & Set Designs, May 2015
  • Communicator Awards
    Silver Award of Distinction, Interactive Multimedia: Education, April 2015

What are people saying?

  • I can’t wait to hang out in this space. Looks amazing 👏📷

  • Beautiful work! Amazing!

  • So interactive and interesting, bravo!


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