A lovely interactive exhibit at the Santa Monica Aquarium, located below the entry to the Santa Monica pier in California, allows visitors young and old to discover information about the water in Southern California – where it comes from, and why and how we need to be careful with it.

Mad designed the interactive, based on a complex array of graffiti covered pipework. The client didn’t want a touch screen, partly because they felt that there are enough touchscreen exhibits out there and they wanted to do something different, and partly because they wanted this exhibit to be suitable for use as a free-standing exhibit as well as a docent driven exhibit. Mad therefore designed and built this exhibit with valves being used to control the interactivity. This exhibit was designed to be used by adults and kids as a free-standing interactive, or for group quizzes with a docent.

The process of development was interesting. We started by putting something very quick and simple together so that the client could get a feel for what we were thinking to do.

Since there were some severe restrictions on space, with a large air conditioning duct running up above and various other things in the way, we decided to do a secondary mock-up that showed where everything that we had to work our way around was located.

After client agreement, we built the ‘real thing’ in the lab, making sure that all the sections were moveable – we aimed to have no more than two day’s worth of disruption at the client’s premises from beginning to end.

Three valves are used to provide interaction with the exhibit – a nice and solid result.


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