Climate Converter

Agency
Client
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

This immersive space features walls and floor projection mapped in a mesmerizing New Zealand-esque environment in the delicate style of paper, with city skyline to forest floor cycling through extreme weather events made increasingly familiar by the growing impact of climate change. As visitors walk into the space, native ferns on the floor part and make way for them. If they pause and stand still, a curious origami kiwi comes to peck around their ankles.

To communicate the ways we should be changing our behavior to reduce carbon emissions, the designers aggregated the best research available on NZ’s carbon footprint. They then divided the actions required to create a carbon neutral country into those which individuals feel empowered to do and those that require broader societal change.

The Challenge

Climate Converter would enable meaningful interactions across all surfaces for visitors irrespective of their age, height, mobility, level of literacy or native tongue. Interactions would be laid out so that visitors could reach content irrespective of their size and height. Content would be accessible for children without isolating older visitors, and avoid high-contrast rapid visual stimulation that can trigger adverse reactions in some visitors.

Climate Converter Video

Photo Credit: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Visitors make a pledge within the Climate Converter installation

Photo Credit: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Child interacts with the Climate Converter enviroment

Photo Credit: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Group of visitors inside the Climate Converter

Photo Credit: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Visitors interacting with the Climate Converter

Design & Execution

On the walls, a continuous landscape representing both rural and urban life houses 24 interactable zones. Each zone contains an action which if enacted makes a significant impact on the carbon footprint.

For each of these actions we designed a short animation to illustrate the change required before that object folds and unfolds like an origami model to take on its new form in the environment.

The environment itself cycles between extreme weather events: drought where the crops wilt and the landscape catches fire, extreme flooding where the sea level rises and rivers flood all the way onto the floor. If visitors trigger enough societal changes these weather events become less violent until the environment settles into a starry night. Each state is accompanied by a musical composition mixed dynamically and spatially based on visitor presence and engagement.

Two plinths in the space operate a pledge building digital interaction, where visitors can choose from 32 actions that individuals can make to lower our carbon footprint, or write their own unique pledge. On committing a pledge the visitor watches as their paper pledge folds into an origami bird and flies from the touchscreen into the projected environment.

Photo Credit: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Climate Converter during a storm phase

Photo Credit: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Visitors interacting with the Climate Converter

Slideshow

Climate Converter

Child inside the Climate Converter installation

Visitors make a pledge within the Climate Converter installation

Child interacts with the Climate Converter enviroment

Group of visitors inside the Climate Converter

Visitors interacting with the Climate Converter

Climate Converter during a storm phase

Visitors interacting with the Climate Converter