Project Category: Media & Exhibitions

Dundee Science Centre – CONNECT

Aim Design worked alongside Dundee Science Centre to develop a new, Stage I, visitor experience concept focusing on young people and families with accessibility and community integration at the heart of the design brief.

The Connect project, located at the ground floor of Dundee Science Centre, strives to enhance and reinforce the centre as a vibrant, inspiring community hub at the heart of Tayside & Fife. The goal is integrating science into local culture, building on community science capacity in the local region and championing change within the wider informal learning sector.

The primary areas of design development focused on the transformation of the centre into a fully immersive, inspiring and accessible science learning environment. The development of the learning outcomes were driven by and developed in collaboration with regional community groups. The space includes an under-7 zone; sensory room; design it, make it, test it workshop; interactive walls and science presentation spaces. The interactives are intentionally low-tech, mainly object-based to encourage group participation and minimise barriers between the various user groups. Interactives include wall puzzles and tests; science booth interactives; sensory water experiments and mechanical and kinetic challenges.

A large prism void space is repurposed as a multi-use science activity area hosting cafe science events including small booth-based events and large gatherings/group events. The entire prism includes a kinetic kaleidoscope feature suspended throughout the prism void changing in reaction to the temperature and light within the space.

Dundee Science Centre – Medical Marvels

Aim Design were commissioned by Dundee Science Centre to develop their Science Learning Institute which includes a new exhibition entitled ‘Medical Marvels’. This playful refurbishment celebrates Dundee’s pioneering medical advances in non-invasive surgery over the last 100 years with opportunities to get hands on at every turn and put new skills into practice! A new experience vein pulses its way through the first floor gallery space commencing with the history of surgery from the 14th century and continuing with exhibits demonstrating present, non-invasive surgical technology as well as glimpses into our surgical future. Throughout the space, seamless solid-surface materials and dramatic feature-lighting are used to create sleek environments that appear futuristic and sculpted with surgical precision to connect exhibits along the way.

The experience vein folds tightly through the available floor area to extend the route and maximise visitor dwell time over the relatively small space. The graphic design and circular clusters of information lozenges compliment the soft curves of the visitor vein.

A path of white spherical lights pulses red with a blood flow effect along the visitor pathway lighting the way and incorporating a visualisation of blood pressure guiding visitors through the route.

Discovery Point Dome Gallery

Discovery Point’s new visitor attraction provides never before seen views of Dundee’s skyline. The project included the creation of a refurbished entrance area, reception and new Dome Gallery Experience.

On reaching the Dome Gallery, visitors are introduced to the space via an experience that starts with the ‘Gaia’ rotating Earth art installation by Luke Jerram, progressing into historic CGI construction of how Dundee appeared in 1901, via a 360° panoramic movie which concludes with a reveal of how the city appears today.

Discovery Point’s Dome was not originally designed as an accessible area of the building. Aim resolved substantial technical challenges to create a new access core and unique Dome Gallery viewing platform enabling visitors to access the dome for the first time. Aim’s Exhibition Design services also delivered the interpretation and creative direction for the 1901 heritage movie and graphics. Visitors can now enjoy unprecedented 360° views across the Dundee skyline and River Tay estuary.

The overall experience invites the visitor to consider the impact our cities and lifestyles impose on the planet. The narrative reflects on the sources of pollution typical of cities at the turn of the 20th century, the lessons we have learnt and why science and exploration are key to developing solutions to combat climate change from those early years and as we continue to demand more from our planet.

The project was awarded Gold for interior design at the 2022 Scottish Design Awards.


In association with Dundee City Council Construction Services and the Unicorn Preservation Society, Aim were invited to develop a feature strategy including upgraded general and showcase lighting proposal to enhance a cherished piece of Dundee’s maritime heritage.

Funding was limited and it was agreed to target the main structural elements of the ship, themed room and craftsman’s marks throughout the lower decks. A non-invasive power & lighting design was developed that was discreet and respectful of the category ‘A’ listed ship interior.

The majority of the internal works comprise a series of strategically placed lighting features, highlighting previously largely hidden features as well reinforcing and enhancing the drama of the interior exhibits and nautical architecture.

A new dedicated reception module has been created on the quayside. Designed around and inside a shipping container, referencing the nautical theme of the setting, the module provides a low-cost and suitably functional visitor space to support the ship. The Unicorn Preservation Trust is branded throughout.

Dundee Science Centre – Predators

The travelling “Predators” exhibition contained a number of animatronic interactives set within a flexible design, including a life-size great white shark, as well as a giant tarantula, and chameleon. Visitors were encouraged to engage with exhibits and to learn about the fascinating characteristics of predators large and small via information presented alongside background stageset imagery.

The backdrop was developed to relate to each of the exhibits and their respective environments, encapsulating the essence of each of the animals and creating an atmosphere for learning and entertainment.

The exhibition was suspended without floor fixings to avoid unnecessary damage to each of the host venues’ floors and could be boxed and unboxed simply and quickly. Curved sections flow between the building structures and were developed to provide several configurations to fit into a variety of different venues.

Beano World

DC Thomson approached Aim in association with Creative Services and Xcentuate to investigate the possibility of developing a centre to celebrate the creativity and historical legacy of their extensive range of comic characters and related publications. Occupying a space within a building under provisional development as a joint venture between regeneration specialists, Our Enterprise and Dundee City Council, the resulting proposal focused on their ‘children’ and ‘young teenager’ portfolios and characters.

A character crypt suspends both new and old character heroes in frozen ‘ice cores’ and presents the development of the comic character throughout the last 100 years.

The primary visitor experience provides a fully immersive challenge that invites the visitor to create their own comic hero character. Their character competes with several recognised DC Thomson heroes throughout the challenge and ends with a showdown at the brain numbskull zapzone. The developed visitor characters lay in waiting in Beano’s virtual world for their next adventure.

A comic record of the experience is produced as a parting gift for the visitor to take away with them or send to friends and family.

Discovery Point – Exhibition

Aim were commissioned by Dundee Heritage Trust to upgrade Discovery Point’s existing award-winning exhibition introduction and education spaces on the ground floor, whilst concurrently refurbishing their function spaces on the first floor.

In close cooperation with the team at Discovery Point, and on a limited budget, a series of points for strategic interventions within the existing exhibition were identified. The redesign included a new introduction experience that included a leader movie; creation of an education zone and dress-up station as well as replacing a number of the more dated exhibits with exciting new features which effectively complement and enhance the existing exhibition.

Aim designed and coordinated construction, interior and graphic design, creative direction of AV, display of star objects and continued on-site management throughout the works to completion.

The project was recognised at the DIA awards, winning the Best Interior Design award.

Dundee Science Centre – Robot

Aim were commissioned by Sensation Science Centre to develop the design for their summer exhibition, “Robot – The Fantasy and the Reality”. To support the exhibits of robots from film and TV, as well as real robots, a themed backdrop was developed relating to each of their origins whilst maintaining a holistic aesthetic for the exhibition. The touring ‘atom’ stageset, developed previously for the Scottish Scientists’ exhibition, was adapted with new graphics to provide a designated information hub where visitors could interact with the various exhibits and learn about the reality and future direction of robotic technology.

Aim were responsible for the development of the design concept and exhibition layout along with the project management and overall delivery of the project.

Aberdeen Science Centre – Planet Energy

Aim were commissioned to design, develop, and manage a series of large scale installations that would form the basis of an exhibition detailing current energy issues and opportunities: “Planet Energy” was the premium summer exhibition for Aberdeen’s Science Centre.

Seven power generating technologies were explored in dedicated panels – wind, hydro, marine, geo-thermal, oil, gas, and solar – arranged to create a circular exhibition space imitating planet Earth and its layers. The exhibition stageset was designed as a ‘knockdown and crating’ solution for touring.

Aim designed a number of interactives and informative displays which were seamlessly integrated into the exhibition space. Video interviews with researchers were also projected directly onto the new graphics to blend the physical and the virtual aspects of the exhibition.

SSE Renewable Energy Exhibition

Aim worked in liaison with Glasgow Science Centre to develop an interactive exhibition on renewable energy to be housed in a public exhibition space at the headquarters of Scottish & Southern Energy. The exhibition included a wind turbine with an ‘infinity tunnel’ ceiling which would give the impression of infinite height when standing inside the turbine exhibit.

Elements that typically run the full height of the turbine were mirrored, including lift, power cables, and the access ladder. Visitors would experience the noise generated by the rotating turbine blades via an integrated audio installation in the base of the turbine that reverberated through the whole installation. These elements combined to complete the illusion of being in a real wind turbine, with interactive educational displays recessed into the stageset to explain the science and engineering of the subject matter. A hydro exhibit provided visitors with the opportunity to charge their mobile device by pumping water into a tank and powering a turbine.