In mid-March 2014, Benchworks were awarded the fit out and installation contract for a new exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich – Ships Clocks and Stars: The Quest for Longitude.

Working alongside Studio MB, Benchworks were given a complex brief in interpreting design intent and developing structures that fully delivered the designer’s creative vision.

One of the key challenges of the project was the production of a 7.5 metre skeletal metal dome that was to be white powder coated and positioned in the 2nd area in the exhibition space, on a high gloss black vinyl floor. The production and installation of this structure being key to the central theme of the exhibition.

Working in partnership, Benchworks’ and sub-contractor Hantek, collaborated on the planning and construction of this huge steel half dome. The combined project team used all their skills in innovation and manufacturing methods, to formulate a plan for creating the dome in a flat pack system that could be easily and quickly assembled on site. In addition, health and safety concerns with regard to this structure were top of the agenda, balancing the need to build a structure that was not only beautiful but also robust enough to cope with any number of recalcitrant children attempting to climb on it!

This domed sculptural element was one of the first items to be delivered and installed by the Benchworks site team and thanks to their thorough planning and design innovation skills, the installation and build at the museum was uncomplicated.

Benchworks were also required to deliver a number of unique items on which moving images could be projected. The first was a 3.6 metre long, 1.4 metre wide matt white oval table.

The creation of this table presented some logistical challenges for the Benchworks workshop team.

It was an extremely large construction to spray in the Benchworks spray booth and also presented the logistical challenge of moving an item of this size to its final resting place at the museum, whilst ensuring that its surfaces were kept finger print and mark free for the best possible projection results.

A further element required for surface projection was a 2.4 metre diameter fibre glass dome. Painted in white it took Benchworks sub contractor IJF Developments over three weeks to manufacture. It is located at floor level in the final zone of the exhibition with overhead projection above.

Mark Hurcombe, Benchworks Project Manager on the exhibition said:

‘Overall this was a great project to work on. The challenges of the project were in the end the most enjoyable elements, and brought the whole installation and fit out together. However my favourite part in the whole exhibition is the room with the digitally printed voiles. At over 3.6 metres high, they are wonderfully dramatic and aesthetically take your breath away when you enter the space.’

Ships, Clocks and Stars: The Quest for Longitude, is open at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich between 11th July 2014 and the 15th January 2015.

Image Credits: The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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