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V&A: Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

Oh my goodness, didn’t we have a wonderful roller-coaster ride as the principal exhibition contractor on the V&A’s flagship exhibition for 2021! Collaborating with world-famous theatre designer Tom Piper and RFK Architects, this riotous investigation of Lewis Carroll’s famously off-the-wall creation absorbed our inventive team in the office and across the workshop floor.

The exhibition has alternating areas of tactile and digital interactivity, large sculptural artworks and exquisite detailing throughout. 

As you enter the exhibitor by descending through the rabbit hole, you encounter the caterpillar, realised as a Victorian fairground ride who has broken through the gallery floor from above and hovers above a sculpted mushroom (with integrated fairground lighting, of course). All this is framed by the backdrop of a hand-painted, shifting sky cloth.

Moving through the exhibitor you meet the Cheshire Cat… Factory Settings worked closely with digital content creative, Luke Halls Studio, to realise this psychedelic structure with the cat appearing and disappearing again, leaving just its grin.

A mix of theatrical set drapery and physical elements combined with ground-breaking projection mapping technology created the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party setting, affected by real-life physical triggers.  For example, by lifting up the lid on the butter tray causes a digital mouse to appear and run up the wall.  In order to achieve this level of sophisticated engagement, Factory Settings appointed AV experts Blue Elephant to develop, install and programme the experience.

All elements of this extraordinary exhibition had to allow direct and robust interaction from both children and adults, requiring an exceptionally durable finish that could cope with such constant engagement.

Photos © Victoria and Albert Museum, London