Quest for Knowledge at Science Centre

Quest for Knowledge at Science Centre

As the exclusive distributor of HI-MACS® in the UK and Ireland, James Latham recently supplied the highly versatile and extremely hard wearing acrylic stone material to bring to life a permanent interactive exhibition entitled 'BodyWorks' at Scotland's impressive 'must-see' visitor attraction, the Glasgow Science Centre.

HI-MACS® has been used extensively throughout the exhibition which comprises of more than 100 interactive elements, helping to create awareness of the body and its health in a thought provoking, engaging and exciting way.

The Scenario

Glasgow based ARKA Design Studio were commissioned to create an interactive exhibition concept where visitors assume the role of scientists, while at the same time becoming the subjects of their own experiments.  This interactive element was critical for ARKA when answering the brief as exhibitions at Glasgow Science Centre see thousands of visitors - young and old - passing through every week and they are all encouraged to take part, so it was imperative that the selected material stood up to the test.

The Solution

HI-MACS® ticked all the boxes for ARKA.  The material is hard wearing, allowing high traffic interaction with the exhibits and because its surface is non-porous, liquid penetration is practically impossible, making it dirt resistant and extremely easy to look after, ensuring it will retain its attractive appearance for years to come, plus because it can be machined and thermoformed to almost any 3-D shape imaginable, HI-MACS also provided endless design possibilities for ARKA giving them the creative freedom to produce a range of playful, aesthetically engaging fixtures which inspire a thought provoking, amusing and exciting experience.  That is why the choice of material has been such a good one, because HI-MACS® is a new generation material; its intelligent composition of natural minerals and pigments allows it to meet the highest standard of aesthetics, functionality and hygiene.

The Result

Fabrication was carried out by Glasgow based fabricator, Elmwood, who, working with the team at ARKA created the interactive elements under three main headings: 'About You' interactive zones, 'Research Capsules' in which visitors conduct their own research and 'Live Labs' in which experiments are carried out by laboratory assistants to the amazement of their audience.

The 'About You' zones include a 'human hamster wheel' in which visitors can measure how much energy they generate.  This accompanied by a presentation wall made of HI-MACS® printed with texts to explain the exhibit.  Acrylic stone is almost as robust as natural stone, but can be worked and processed in the same way as wood, and is also resistant to bacteria and viruses.

The research capsules address subjects such as 'How to mend a broken heart' and 'How your body fights back'.  These organically shaped structures form an enclosed space clad with CNC-milled HI-MACS® panels displaying organic elements or inlaid designs to stimulate interest in the cube's subject.  Access to the capsules is via backlit gaps in the shell, which creates an exciting moment, relieving visitors of any reluctance to engage with science. 

The BodyWorks exhibition is on floor 3 of the Glasgow Science Centre at 50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow G51 1EA.  Telephone: 0141 420 5000.  Website:


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