Origins, Western Australian Museum


Project Commenced: April 2017
Project Completed: April 2019
Floor Area: 800 – 1000sqm per gallery

Thylacine’s role

  • design management
  • interpretive design
  • graphic design
  • media design
  • lighting design


Museums and Galleries National Awards 2021
Best Permanent Exhibition (level 4 budget)

Australian Interior Design Awards 2021
Best of State Western Australia

DNA Paris Design Awards 2021
Winner Interior/Civic design

Dezeen Awards 2021
Longlist Exhibition Design


‘Origins’ focuses on interpreting the themes ‘Discovering Western Australia’ and ‘Exploring the World’, which play a pivotal role in showcasing the Western Australian landscape and ancient cultural diversity in a universal context. It has strong links to other galleries, particularly ‘Ngalang Koort Boodja Wirn’ and ‘Connections’.

Featuring significant objects from the WA Museum Collection, ‘Origins’ addresses key themes, including the origin of the Solar System, evolution of the earliest known life on Earth, formation of landscapes, deposits of diverse minerals, and Aboriginal peoples’ deep and enduring connection to Country. The gallery explores these themes by drawing on the dual perspectives of Western scientific thought, and Aboriginal knowledge systems, to deliver a rich and nuanced understanding.

The exhibition design aims to create a sense of awe and wonder by utilising open and interrupted sightlines, dramatic lighting and carefully choreographed transitions. Drawing inspiration from the spectacular landforms of Western Australia, the gallery presents as a landscape in its own right, featuring craters, gardens, pools and platforms. Visitors move across, through and within these contrasting spaces as they explore the rich and diverse stories and collections.

Curved surfaces and textures soften the rectilinear gallery by obscuring its boundaries and creating shifting visual horizons. The intention is to elucidate at every opportunity the confluence of science and design through texture, sound, theatrical lighting, graphics and multimedia.

Client The Western Australian Museum and their stakeholders. Project partners iredale pedersen hook architects, media designers Mental Media and Eye Candy and lighting designer Illuminated Design.

Photography by Peter Bennetts