Oil interactive pavilion concept

• OverviewProcess
to design an exhibition space.

A large-scale multimedia exhibition is being created on the first floor of building 25 located on the territory of VDNKh. The exhibition demonstrates the main achievements of the Russian and world oil industry, conveys its history and showcases main technologies. Considerable attention is given to the role of Lukoil, the company that commissioned studio’s architects and designers to implement the project.


The pavilion has four exhibition halls that are divided into seven themed zones. The halls gradually transition from one to the next, gently immersing visitors into the subject area.

Black, the color of oil, was chosen to be the primary color of the exhibition. The halls are enveloped in mysterious twilight, making them appear as being underground. Highlighted exhibits and navigation screens appear from the dark. Visitors who want to listen an explanation of what is being shown can use the audio guide provided in several languages. The path is guided by an illuminated line that flickers at each step.

First hall

The first hall tells how oil is used today. Everything starts with extraction, then transportation, processing and manufacturing of things the relation of some of which to oil may surprise many people.

The art object installed in the center dominates over the hall. It is assembled from illuminated glass tubes of various diameters with black drops moving inside them. Metal is added to the composition of the glass walls of the tubes. As soon as a visitor gets close to a tube, drops begin to move faster. What we wanted to say with this is the closer humans are to oil, the faster they start to pump it for their needs.

All tubes are installed on a soft pouf of a complex shape. It’s a good spot to sit and ponder about using mineral resources and other eternal questions. Or to simply relax.

The central wall shows a cross section of the Earth, oil rigs and a processing plant. The side walls are divided into eight parts by columns each of which symbolizes its own product type: medicine, cosmetics, construction materials, plastics and rubber, household chemicals, fabrics and food.

The entire exposition is interactive. Choosing a product on the touch-sensitive information panel starts the process, making the wall come to life and the animation begin: rigs pump oil from wells, pipes take it to the refinery, then on to specialized plants, to stores as goods and finally to people. All the while the panel shows information about the product, consumption statistics and other interesting facts.

Second hall

The second hall is dedicated to geology and geological exploration. The wall of the entrance zone shows earth and water in cross-section making layers of different rocks and oil deposits better visible. Visitors can choose a fragment on the information panel to highlight the part of cross-section where it is found. Important relevant data is also displayed, of course.

The interactive wall in the hall talks about physical and chemical properties of oil and how its composition changes depending on its location. The animated processing diagram shows substances that are obtained at different stages.

In the Clear the World Ocean and Save the Birds game visitors first need to choose the degree of water pollution caused by major factors and then the purification mode. This launches an animation showing primary ways to make the ocean cleaner along with information about helping animals that live in the water and around it.

Land areas on the map come alive when a geological exploration method is chosen. Machinery is started, geologists and drillers get to work, studies are conducted. The accompanying text explains what’s going on in a fun and succinct way, allowing visitors to watch the animation and read the explanation at the same time.

The interior is completed by glass barrels containing oil of different types with information of why each type looks the way it does. Above the barrels is a microscope that allows to look at the chemical composition of oil, as well as chemical tubes.

The exit which doubles as the entrance to the tunnel is designed using mock-ups of oil rigs painted in corporate Lukoil colors.

To get to the next hall, visitors need to go through a long dark room. This would be boring and even a bit scary if not for the VR headsets. By putting them on, visitors find themselves in a real oil mine. Matching music completes the atmosphere.

Third hall

The third hall demonstrates the development of oil industry from its first mention to our time. At the entrance is a mock-up of the first oil rig and the nearby wall contains further information about it along with interesting facts and drawings. The front half of the hall is equipped with glass steles of various height containing details, rare photographs and illustrations.

Small mock-ups showing the evolution of the design and appearance of oil mines are installed on pedestals at the bottom.

In the second half of the hall similar glass steles talk about development of oil extraction and processing technologies while the opposite side of the room has a mock-up of an oil plant. The information table located nearby is equipped with a touch-sensitive panel: choosing a section of the plant will display photographs, drawings, videos and important information about that area on the wall.

The main object of the hall is the huge cinema screen which is constantly showing beautiful videos about the industry. At the bottom of the screen is a long horizontal panel, the River of Time. The panel contains the dates of the most important events in the history of the industry, choosing a point on the line will launch a brief video about that date. Visitors can sit on black drop-shaped poufs to get educated.

The floor has manholes with round glass covers that conceal video screens demonstrating photos and videos taken from above. Incredibly impressive!

Fourth hall

The fourth hall is dedicated to Russia and the modern world. It contains exhibits representing the oil industry in its most modern state.

The main wall is taken by a map of the world. When a type of information is chosen on the touch-sensitive panel, a part of the map is highlighted while the screen shows the statistics about oil extraction, consumption by various countries, special features of different deposits and facts about oil and gas companies.

The opposite wall is completely dedicated to the history of the Russian oil industry and its features, including the latest trends and illustrated statistics.

A stand about professions in the industry, education and careers completes the exhibit. A mirrored statue of an oil worker makes every visitor a little bit engaged in oil production and allows to try on a new image. Who knows, maybe some will enjoy the feeling so much they will want to change their profession.

In the final zone visitors are invited to take a test to find out how well they understood the information of the exhibition.

When leaving the pavilion, visitors can walk into the gift shop to purchase souvenirs or simply take photos in front of the multimedia wall by choosing the best background: an oil plant, a mine or an oil rig.


The halls are designed in a way that allows them to be easily transformed for business meetings and other events. When necessary, all objects in the pavilion can be transformed with the exception of the installation in the first hall which remains the dominating object of the exhibition.

Thus, several temporary functional zones can be created.

Exhibition space transforming into a business hall
Exhibition space transforming into a lecture hall


In addition to the architectural design of the halls, a corporate identity for the pavilion was created at the studio. At the core of the identity are topographic maps and geological cross sections.

The abstract elements of the style support the theme of the museum while looking minimalist and low-key.

art director

  • Artemy Lebedev


  • Svetlana Vasilyeva


  • Aleksandr Karavaev
  • Nikolay Radchenko

project manager

  • Maksim Pushnov
Architecture  Graphic design  Identities  Oil & Gas  Lukoil