Winding through the narrow halls of the Sir John Soane’s Museum is a unique, irreplaceable experience. Inviting personal discoveries as you take your time wandering the overwhelming, historic spaces. A new 3-D presentation aligns perfectly with Soane’s desire for his house to remain a permanent space for education. An ambitious endeavor, considering that the surfaces of Sir John Soane’s Museum are essentially all covered with paintings, sculpture, furnishings and objects of curiosity.
ScanLAB has designed the website so you arrive at these spaces through translucent walls, giving a preview of other scanned areas being developed. The project offers two rooms for online exploration: Soane’s Model Room and the Sepulchral Chamber.
“The visual feast provides no mystery to the features of each room in this immaculately detailed 3D model. The camera intentionally bobs and weaves slowly through the layout of the building and its walls; displaying details of wallpaper and intricate floor tiling, a statement in itself to the effort put into the tour. In each featured work, the viewer is provided with vignettes of images and texts that flourish with further information about certain pieces, adding great depth to the experience.” Jack Clark, film student, blog beta tester.
Clicking and dragging your mouse allows examination of details in each room in 360 degrees, albeit from one fixed perspective; ScanLAB has additionally scanned and digitized select objects, from the famed alabaster sarcophagus of King Seti, to cork and plaster models of the ancient Temple of Vesta. Clicking on each image draws up information on the history as well as additional images that allow you to observe an object from all angles, zooming in on details you may not notice or be able to see in person.
The Sir John Soane Museum is a personal favorite of mine, not due to a visit, but a more curious discovery. Several years ago I had the pleasure of viewing the archive of my uncle J Harlan Bretz, which is housed at the Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago. Amongst the various items was a photo album from a pre-WWII trip to England, many pictures of architecture contained references to John Soane. My curiosity piqued, I have followed this museum and several website incarnations over the years. The Soane Museum is easily one on the best in terms of accessibility and uniqueness of the collection. The continued evolution of this space and its relevancy is a tribute to the staff entrusted with Soane’s legacy.