Science Museum / Cosmonauts Shop

Science Museum London invited us to design and build the shop which was to accompany their highly anticipated exhibition, Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age.

In 1957 Russia launched the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik, into space and just four years later sent the first ever human – Yuri Gagarin. The Cosmonauts exhibition reveals the dramatic story of how Russia turned the dream of space travel into a reality.

Our brief was to create a stylish and impressive retail space to accompany the exhibition. Our designs had to be in line with the Science Museum policy of opening up the original building and highlighting areas of interest in the buildings fabric. It was important that natural light from the huge, feature windows, was unimpeded and that the open, airy feel of the recently renovated gallery space was preserved.

The shop needed to allow for zoning, easy change-outs and flexible product display. We opted for an industrial modular shelving system which can be reconfigured as necessary and used accents of neon red to give reference to the Cosmonauts imagery and colour scheme of the exhibition. By working closely with the Science Museum we ensured that the shop complimented the Cosmonauts exhibition and contributed to a positive visitor experience.

Inspiration for the furnishings came from structures and shapes connected with the development of the space program in Russia, contrasting industrial references with cleanly finished surfaces. We produced bespoke shop elements; incorporating laser cut patterns in sheet steel and re-purposed aluminium ladders to form tables. All bespoke elements were handmade by skilled craftspeople here in London.

We integrated a dramatic feature wall into the design to showcase the range of posters for sale. Lettering in the Cosmonauts exhibition font was laser cut into raw steel to create the shop signage. Dividing wall elements invoke the style of the tall doors fronting Russian build hangers used to store rockets.

“We’ve had nothing but praise for the Cosmonauts shop. The design works with the product, uses the space resourcefully, and the build quality is exceptional. The Poster Gallery in particular elevates the product and is really driving sales. It’s a huge success with sales figures showing as double what was projected. Not Tom have delivered something amazing here and we couldn’t be happier.”
– Paul Widgery (Group Retail Manager)