The Shanghai Natural History Museum, a branch of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, was our first project with a massive natural history museum. Compared to relics and heritage museums, natural history museums require display cases which are extremely huge or of different shapes with an extra-high load carrying capacity. This is because the dimensions of exhibits may differ from very small, in the case of butterfly specimens to ultra-big like megafauna specimens or skeletal fossils; or the weights of exhibits may differ from light as with feather or fur specimens to heavy as with large-scale geological specimens. Due to the presence of a great number of colour-rich specimen exhibits, restoring their original colours is necessary when introducing an illumination system. Besides, beautiful colours are needed to create an amazing display atmosphere and the colours and materials of case surfaces must be selected carefully before a final decision is made. For cases with a high probability of interaction with viewers, nterrelated structures must be calculated accurately on these display cases for purpose of installation of multimedia devices.
The major challenge of this project is the large quantity of irregular cases, such as irregular polygonal free-standing display cases and circular arc display cases. They require extremely high machining accuracy on sheet metals, glass, aluminum profile frames among others. Furthermore, the design of the opening structure must be clever and well-thought through to secure the motion path of irregular glass.