"When you really know how someone works then collaboration becomes more fluid and intuitive, it's less formal. There's a naturalness to it that I really like and that I look for in other projects." —Satoshi Isono
LR: The Wonder Materials graphene show at the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester, was a good example of this process in action. It came about because my studio had worked with the Manchester team before, so they invited us to pitch for the show. We knew immediately that Satoshi and Universal would be ideal partners, so started collaborating from the pitch stage, which was excellent. The brief was also incredibly open; the museum had commissioned Danielle Olsen as external curator and she came with some exciting ideas. She wanted the narrative to be organised around time – the past, present and future – but, as graphene is effectively a ‘new’ material, how we depicted current research and the future possibilities was still to be defined – that offered us a lot of freedom.
SI: It was the ideal process in a way, because we came in with fresh eyes to this exciting material that still has so many unknown applications, and we were able to just really delve deep into the research ourselves. It was very exciting, because we were learning so much in the process.
"We often start exhibition projects knowing very little about the show’s subject, but keen to learn, which helps us to imagine the experience from the visitor’s perspective. Then via the research process we develop an expertise of sorts. This is hugely enjoyable, but can be dangerous as you risk losing that initial position of naivety. It’s really important that we continue to identify with visitors as this is key in helping to get the message across simply. So, we try to wear any expertise of ours lightly."—Lucienne Roberts
"Design is so important in communicating cultural projects: it’s not just giving them form but it defines their whole accessibility."—Satoshi Isono