Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

Urbana, IL – University of IL
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How do you celebrate the life of a chemist, inventor, investor, and philanthropist whose ingenuity gave rise to Silicon Valley? We were engaged to tell the story of Arnold Beckman in a small rotunda in the building named for him. How do you make a high traffic area open to the public comfortable while gaining the curiosity of people passing through? Graphic panels in soothing shades of blue with a periodic table motif reminisce on Beckman’s childhood in Illinois and his later achievements. Several small artifacts, like the chemistry book that first inspired him, were displayed and safely protected in advanced locking vitrines with UV-protected acrylic. The beauty of the naturally lit rotunda, the decorative motifs and the wood walls bring a sense of quiet contemplation, encouraging visitors to pause in the midst of a buzzing science building.