The Spark Returns to Cragside Thanks to Transparent Displays

Take a look at this amazing transparent display created by mdesign for the National Trust at Cragside House, Northumberland.

The installation is titled ‘The Magic of Lord Armstrong’s Laboratory’, the Spark returns to Cragside (after 120 years).

The main premise of the installation is that the experiments documented in Lord Armstrong’s publication ‘Electrical Movement in Air and Water’ are being reconstructed in front of your very eyes by Mr Britton and Mr Moore from within the Spark Cabinet.

The centrepiece in the room is referred to as ‘The Spark Cabinet’


Mdesign were appointed creative partners by the National Trust in 2016 for ‘The Magic of Lord Armstrong’s Laboratory’ at Cragside House, Northumberland. This is a permanent installation in the original Laboratory built by Lord Armstrong in the 1890’s.

Using archive publications of the experiments conducted over 120 years ago several of the experiments and some of the apparatus have been presented with the aid of transparent displays as interactive reconstructions. The presentation of the reconstruction draws on the parallel evolution of Victorian Magic and Science. During the 1800’s there was a deep fascination with science and magic. Many inventors and scientists were being called magicians and many magicians were using science to produce ever impossible illusions.

Both the performance of the latest sensational illusion and demonstrations of the most recent developments in science were presented to the Victorian public with theatre and showmanship. Mdesign have used early illusion techniques such as peppers ghost, bottled heads, and infinity mirrors along with a large dose of modern transparent technology to present the experiments.

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