Imperial War Museum


As a result of our published work in lighting design we were invited to London for an informal interview. The request was for Atkinsons to consider the brief, and describe our approach. When we asked for a written brief the architect could only articulate the abstract wishes of the client.

“We are looking for a physical construction that will become the symbolic centre of the War Museum and galleries. We need to encapsulate the loss of human life in battlefields and other conflicts across the world during the 20th Century in an appropriate and sensitive symbolic device.”

The installation demonstrates a “collage” of multi media devices that communicate the principles outlined in the abstract brief. The collage includes a large white circular clock that quietly challenges traditional expectations of a timepiece. A single black dial rotates through 360° in exactly six seconds and an adjacent digital display racks up another 3 lives lost in conflict. Concurrently the black dial triggers a bright burst of white light into a symbolic parachute overhead.

“It addressed and resolved a complex intellectual concept in a manner instantly accessible to visitors of all ages and nationalities.”

Robert Crawford, Director of the Imperial War Museum