Magna Science Centre,
Rotherham, UK

Our design for the lighting - and indeed the darkness - plays a crucial role in supporting the exhibition, recreating a sense of the drama and danger of the original plant. The primary background lighting is a low level monochromatic red, suggestive of both rust and hot molten steel smouldering in the dark interior, against which the individual pavilions shine
Wilkinson Eyre Architects
Exhibition Designer
Event Communications
Exhibition Lighting Designer
DHA Design
Edmund Sumner
Project Team
Mark Major, Jonathan Speirs

Set in the dramatic interior of a disused steelworks, Magna is a series of interactive exhibition pavilions themed around the elements needed for making steel: air, water, earth and fire.

In 2001 Magna won the prestigious Stirling Prize for Architecture.

Wilkinson Eyres great achievement, supported by inspired lighting design, has been to allow the existing building to speak for itself and to tell its own history.”

Stirling Prize for Architecture Judges

The Air Pavilion, which appears to be suspended in space, is lit in sky colours. Slow moving cloud projections speed up as a \"storm\" approaches. Below, the half-buried Earth Pavilion glows white, while inside the visitor walks through striated shadows and strobing hazard lights.

Externally, light is limited to highlighting a few industrial artefacts. The building itself is deliberately left dark and brooding, picked out only by a network of red beacons that announce its presence from a distance.

The Water Pavilion is located at ground level, marked by a blue halo against a cyan wash. Ripples gently animate all the internal walls, created by light focused through suspended water tanks and combined with reflections from fan-blown foil strips.

Inside the Fire Pavilion, the walls flicker with orange light.