The Royal Air Force Museum London

July 10, 2018

After a multi-million pound refit and redevelopment of the original Grahame Park site to celebrate 100 years of the formation of the RAF, we were asked to fabricate design a series of interactive donation boxes. Donations are hugely important to the museum’s finances so the donation points had to have the “wow” factor. We presented 5 different designs and renders and the preferred design was chosen. We had 7 weeks to turn those designs into reality including detailing all the engineering, working drawings and samples to ensure that everything worked to plan on the Museum’s Royal Opening on the 29th June 2018

To see a video of the project construction and operating click here or click the play button




The materials we chose were dependant on the qualities that they would bring to the unit; Perspex Acrylic due to its excellent clarity for the main body and face panels in 10mm and 15mm, GRP fibreglass for its strength for the nose cones and turbine blades, Hi-Macs by LG for its unbeatable aesthetic feel and resilience to staining and scratches for the main base unit.

Our ability to work with new materials and learn quickly allowed us to mould and fabricate the Hi-Macs® bases into wheeled support units resembling the chocks used in aircraft. “A most ambitious undertaking” we were told especially as we hadn’t worked a huge amount with the Hi-Macs® material previously but as usual our team delivered. However, our ability to create acrylic domes and spheres is very well known and we produced a series of beautiful cylinders with a spinning rotary turbine “engine” that was connected to the nose cones on the exterior face. The turbine blades have been chromed to look like cast polished aluminium. The nose cones are manually rotated to make the “turbine” spin which is a great interaction with visitors before they donate through the slots. All of the items were designed with the RAF colours in mind and this was achieved by using 10-year exterior grade vinyl on the inside of the cylinders and powder coating and wet spray on other components.

Caroline Smith, Head of Development Royal Air Force Museum said,

‘As part of our Museum transformation it was important to ensure the visibility of the Museum as a charity and to make it easy for our visitors to donate.  We worked with Richard Woolff of Talbot Designs to produce distinctive and effective donation boxes for our sites in London and Cosford.  The time frame was tight in order to meet our opening deadline of 29th June, the Royal opening of our London site following a £26m refurbishment.  It was exciting to visit the Talbot Designs factory in Finchley to see the progress being made during the manufacturing process. We are delighted with the Donation boxes and impressed with the professionalism of the Talbot Designs team’.

So far everyone concerned with the project has been impressed with the end result as are the children who are determined to see who can spin the turbine the fastest!