The whale fall plinth
The whale fall display
The whale fall display

Universal Design Studio has completed the design of ‘The Deep Sea,’ the latest family blockbuster exhibition at the Natural History Museum, which explores the virtually untouched and unexplored territory of the deep sea.

As well as adapting the exhibition to the Natural History Museum site, Universal designed the new centrepiece for the exhibition, the ‘Whale Fall’ exhibit. This is an abstract recreation of the unique eco-system that is supported by the death of a single whale. It comprises of a 9 metre-high fabric structure that is suspended above a whale skeleton The structure represents a column of water that extends above the whale.

The ‘Whale Fall’ exhibit also brings awareness to the vast scale of both the gallery and of the deep sea and the fragility of the eco system. Footage of the many species that feed off the whale carcass is projected onto the fabric structure producing an animated object whose illumination and transparency is constantly shifting. The exhibit becomes a moment of respite during the visitor’s journey around the show.

Location: - London, UK

Client: - Natural History Museum

Photographer: - Paul Greenleaf

Works: - Exhibition design

Specification: - Exhibition


Exhibition entrance
Exhibition display
Interactive & cinema area

The modular components that form the remainder the exhibition are enhanced by the insertion of semi-transparent, fabric-covered screens. These screens aim to produce varying degrees of visual interference during the visitor’s journey around the exhibition, enhancing the feeling of suspense and providing a tactile element to the show, adding a sense of mystery to this already fascinating, dark world.



Video of Exhibition


Overall design
Whale fall iso
Construction view
Whale bone before cleaning

‘The Deep Sea’ focuses on the bizarre species of the deep sea and the wonderful ways in which they have adapted to this harsh environment. As well as stunning images, illustrations, specimens and models of deep-sea animals, the exhibition features a walk-through submersible and a model bathysphere.

Universal Design Studio has worked closely with the Natural History Museum in London to adapt this touring exhibition from both the Natural History Museum of Basel in Switzerland and the Senckenberg Museum in Germany for the London museum space.