Spanish practice Smart & Green Design re-designed the Barbican's touring Game On exhibition for a former underground cistern in Madrid, using more than 150 LED arches to evoke the neon colors of the 1980s.
The retrospective, which is reportedly the largest international exhibition to explore the history of video games, spans more than 400 collector's objects and drawings covering the birth of the technology in the 1960s to the present day.
Alongside this, 150 original video games can be played as part of the show, including early games like Space Invaders and Tetris, classics like Rock Band, Pokemon, and The Sims as well as more recent games like Fifa and Wii Sports.
After touring more than 30 countries including China, the US, and Australia, the exhibition came to Madrid between November 2019 and May 2020 courtesy of arts and culture foundation Fundación Canal.
Set against an otherwise dimly lit interior, these nodded to the vector graphics of early video games such as Battle Zone, in which simple lines and curves on a black backdrop were used to create the illusion of three-dimensional spaces.
LEDs were arranged into color-coded arches and tunnels to create the impression of architectural elements, demarcating 15 distinct sections and guiding visitors through the exhibition.
Each section was also signposted through a neon sign proclaiming its theme, which was suspended in the air in a nod to the floating score numbers often found in the top corner of a game's screen.
Source: Jennifer Hahn