Five years in the making, this ground-breaking exhibition allows viewers to experience the past, present, and future of Formula 1. From audio-visual spectaculars to elegantly curated displays, the lighting scheme is a vital element of presenting the journey of interactive and immersive technologies, installations, artefacts and interviews.

Michael Grubb Studio was appointed by Round Room Studios to provide creative lighting design for the six purpose-built rooms. The studio collaborated with designer Alastair McCaw, Director at Real Studios, who liaised with curators, artists and filmmakers to support the narrative.

It was important that the lighting approach reflected the Formula 1 brand. While the space is treated as a whole, each of the six spaces had a very different core experience that the team aimed to achieve. A plethora of lighting techniques were employed for the innovative lighting design to create an exciting cultural experience that brings to life the sport’s stories of passion, craftsmanship, innovation, and the thrill of racing.

The visual and artistic use of light was employed to create the atmosphere for each room, building up a cinematic atmosphere. In the first room, ‘Once upon a time in Formula 1’, the lighting blended with the soundscape of the space to give a perpetual sense of movement deepening the immersion of the space. It then transitions to a cool and functional display for the ‘Design Lab’. The illumination heightens to represent speed and chaos in the ‘Drivers and Duels’ race circuit design, timed to align with the “perfect” driving line taken around corners by drivers, before climaxing into a crescendo paired with the incredible audio-visual display for ‘The Pit Wall’ finale, as fans relive the greatest moments in F1 history.

To align with the luxury brand element of the project, great care was taken on the use and implementation of lighting details to make them as unobtrusive and integral to the space as possible. Focal lighting was also carefully considered to highlight the real-life artefacts and engineering components.

As this is a complex exhibition, with many galleries and stories to illuminate, the design had to consider not only this but also the overall environmental aspects of how it could be transported from city to city. It is essential that while the scheme needed to be malleable it should not feel temporary, so all the equipment chosen was of high quality and aligned with the brand’s sustainability goals.

The scheme was designed to be as flexible as possible. The team used automated lighting control systems and flexible fixtures so scenes can be easily transported adjusted for each venue space. The next stop of the exhibition is in Vienna, opening at the METAStadt on 2nd February 2024, due to its seamless transport and reinstallation capabilities.

The result is an incredible immersive lighting experience that can be transported, retained, maintained, and operated as sustainably and efficiently as possible. The lighting design plays a key role in guiding visitors through the dynamic journey.

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