Moving to Mars Exhibtion entrance
Moving to Mars Exhibtion entrance

Moving to Mars

Feb - May 2019
Project Type
Concept iteration, prototyping and spatial design

The Design Museum is a world renowned museum dedicated to product, graphic, fashion and architectural design. For their upcoming exhibition about Mars they wanted to try something different: make the exhibition itself an experience. I was part of a team at Fabrique tasked to design the visitor experience along with the visuals and spatial design.

The Problem

For their upcoming Mars exhibition, The Design Museum wanted to attract a wide audience including families with children. The challenge: how do you make an exhibition about Mars an experience instead of a collection of objects suited for such a wide audience?

The Design Museum
The Design Museum

We approached this project as if we were directing a movie. We wanted to design and control what, when and where somebody should see, feel and hear. This ensures that everything becomes one cohesive experience from start to finish. In order to pull this off we worked together with various specialists including the museum’s own curators, 3D artists, lighting experts, scientists, builders and video producers.

Mockup for the experience Mars room
Visitor experience mockups

We started by creating storyboards and scripts of what the visitor experience would be. We made sure to explore and define the mood and colors that every part should have so they feel distinct yet part of an overarching journey. Every part of the exhibition is told from a human perspective.

Storyboards created to map out the experience
Storyboards to map out the experience room by room

We created a maquette to explore and design the spatial experience. This allowed us to map out where everything should be and experiment with different flows and elements. We made sure the maquette was easy to transport and modify.

People standing around and point at the maquette
People standing around the maquette
To keep everyone up to date on the design we used a 360degree camera to create a digital walkthrough of our maquette exhibition. This allowed us to communicate design changes to all the stakeholders.

A part of the exhibition is not about objects but about Mars as a concept and how we humans perceive it. We ask questions such as: should we even go to Mars? This encourages visitors to think and ask questions for themselves.

A visitor voting about if we should go to Mars at the end of the exhibition
At the end of the exhibition visitors can vote on whether we should go to Mars

At the center of the experience is a room which makes you feel like you're on Mars. This is something we wanted to do from the get go. Through maquettes with beamers we prototyped and iterated. This also allowed us to easily test and refine the movie that would be played.

Looking at the experience Mars room maquette
View from inside the experience Mars maquette

We briefly experimented with an interactive component: an app that enables extra fun activities. A big part of this was an augmented reality experience. Visitors could “launch” rockets from a wall with the app. To test the feasibility, I quickly made a prototype in Unity.


We delivered the visitor experience of the exhibition along with the visuals and spatial design that was ready to be built. The result is a unique exhibition that is great for visitors of all ages and interests. We went to the opening day to see the end result for ourselves.

Exhibition white hallway and entrance
Exhibition section with screens
Close up of glowing text on the wall at the exhibition
Exhibition about growing food
Experience Mars

The Moving To Mars exhibition ran from October 2019 to February 2020. It got a lot of visitors and both the press and visitors gave Moving To Mars glowing reviews.

“An intelligent and thoughtful exhibition. Its most compelling sensation, though, is one of wonder.”
The Guardian
“A thought-provoking look at man's fascination with Mars.”

For me it was a great but challenging project. I constantly had to find novel solutions to visualize the visitor's experience and share them with the numerous stakeholders involved.

I learned to focus on what really adds to the experience and what doesn't, especially when having to meet a certain budget.