Crossing the threshold of the new headquarters of the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), you get the sense of entering another dimension. Highly reflective surfaces like black glass, automobile-finish white panels and glossy grey floors create a feel of expansiveness and depth, echoing the infinite breadth of the galaxies. USRA, an independent nonprofit organization that works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics and engineering, needed a way to describe its complex mission and how it integrates its competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations. USRA’s audience includes university faculty, private sector clients and government visitors.
Project designer Hickok Cole conceived a lobby for greeting the public, work spaces for staff, teaming areas for staff interaction, and a café for casual meeting and eating. To articulate and implement the design intent for the introductory exhibit, Hickok Cole brought in Xibitz. From design refinement, to shop drawings and production, to installation, the Xibitz team delivered a highly refined and sophisticated display that mimics the tight tolerances and crisp design of spacecraft.
A closer look at the exhibit reveals free-standing walls describing each of the USRA-related disciplines, including planetary science, earth science and space nuclear power. The display walls feature touch screen monitors; backlit graphics; and artifact cases with specimens like moon rocks and meteors, and sophisticated observation equipment like x-ray and parabolic mirrors.