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Mathematics: The Winton Gallery at London’s Science Museum honoured at International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) Awards

The IALD Awards recognise lighting projects that display high aesthetic achievement backed by technical expertise. Developed with Arup, the lighting design for the Winton Gallery captures and enhances its architectural vision, bringing advanced mathematical concepts to the everyday visitor experience. The team at Arup achieved this through the integration, exploration, and unexpected use of colours and lighting typologies.

Bringing together the remarkable stories and historical artefacts that highlight the central role of mathematical practice in all our lives, the Winton Gallery has welcomed more than 2 million visitors since opening in Dec 2016.

Mathematics defines the gallery’s design. Inspired by the 1929 Handley Page ‘Gugnunc’ aircraft at the centre of the gallery, the design is driven by equations of airflow used in the aviation industry. The layout and lines of the gallery represent the air that would have flowed around this historic aircraft in flight.

“This pioneering project has vastly increased visitor numbers to the Mathematics Gallery and is an exemplar project in how architecture can be central to successful curatorial development. The project is finished to an exacting standard… the floating pod structure is precisely engineered,” explained the RIBA London Award citation in 2017.

Curator Dr David Rooney said, “Mathematical practice underpins so many aspects of our lives and work. Bringing together these remarkable stories, people and exhibits in this new gallery is inspiring visitors to think about the role of mathematics in a new light.”

“An environment that fills you with wonder,” concurred the Sunday Times. “I found myself uplifted by something pure, floaty and mysterious: the beauty of maths.”

Mathematics: The Winton Gallery video

The Science Museum

IALD citation

Photograph by Matt Danby