In these interactives, my design work was mostly about look and feel. Fabrication work is by the Lawrence Hall of Science Exhibits Shop.





The pinwall is like a giant version of the pinhead toy into which you can imprint your face, hands, or other things (I used a beach ball here). This pinwall—which imprints from both sides—uses plastic pin parts developed by the San Jose Children's Museum. The chevron shape was my solution for making the thing stand on its own and still be movable. The black frame, besides looking snazzy, gives the wall the feel of an ever-changing communal artwork. Allan Ayres engineered my design and created CAD working drawings.

There are over 80,000 plastic pins in the wall. Each pin must pass through two plastic screens and get a small cap snapped on; very fussy and a huge time sink. I designed specialized tools, jigs and processes which reduced the time to about a quarter of previous.


Color choice for the plastic was important. My first choice was a vivid spring green, but when I pre-visualied it in Photoshop, I discovered something: for a big, nubbly plastic wall that you are going to stick your hand in, green looks repulsive. I decided on orange. The manufacturer needed a physical sample of plastic in an orange color we liked. I mailed them a pair of my manager's Fiskars scissors.

An old air cannon with a new skin: aniline-dyed plywood replaces a battered cardboard tube, a wood-and-steel palette replaces the old red, yellow and purple.

How do you make a dome for a transparent observatory? It struck me the shape and structure we needed was like sticking two shop awnings back-to-back. So we outsourced to a firm that makes shop awnings. I art-directed, but full credit goes to Allan Ayres for the complete design drawings and all mechanical and electrical engineering. The awning firm was so tickled to make something different they entered the dome in their trade association's annual competition.


Photos by Allan Ayres


Filed in: Exhibits

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