Origins Interior of the Rock Bulge 2017

Origins Centre 2017

The Origins Centre is the world’s only museum dedicated to exploring and celebrating the history of modern humankind. The Museum provides visitors with a unique experience of Africa’s rich, complex heritage and boasts an extensive collection of rock art from the Wits Rock Art Research Institute.

The aim of the project is to explore and deliver design solutions on the subject of the Middle Stone Age. This will take the form of redesigning portions of the entrance hall exhibit as well as conceptualising a space and interactive areas concerning Blombos Cave (Cave Quest).

The focus of this project is on the innovations of Middle Stone Age period in southern Africa. The archaeology of this period reflects a plethora of new and innovative items that have helped archaeologists understand the timing and location of the development of complex (or ‘modern’) human behavior. Blombos Cave is an extremely significant MSA site that has produced phenomenal archaeological material. This project links up with a new museum and interpretative centre that is being built in the De Hoop Nature Reserve, on the southern Cape coast. The opening of the De Hoop Human Origins Centre is planned for 2018.


The Rock Bulge is the new wing of the Origins Centre. Showcasing 90 rock engravings that were collected from the old Transvaal and then housed in the Johannesburg Zoo.  The became overgrown and acid rain damaged. They were rescued by RARI, at Wits in the early 2000s and stored in an old building on West Campus


Seating/Benches for resting – interesting, comfortable, arranged around most important areas and windows, needs to fit the aesthetic of the interior/not randomly placed.

Research Zone – multimedia table zone with touch screen with interesting history and information about rock art (information hub). A place for inspiration. Must be playful/fun work zone.

Conceptual “Kopjie” – Abstract illustration of the concept of a “Kopjie”. Lighting/shadows to help differentiate the rocks to make them look more interesting in the cluster that they are in.

Stands for the 1st Floor rocks – Simple stands displaying the rocks at a 30/40-degree angle. Materials are open – glass, wood, metal, foam etc.

Triple Volume Artwork – 3D artwork, shamanistic realm



  • Laser Cut + stippled rock art tracings forming shadows on floor and surrounding surfaces
  • Spotlight Beams creating a spiritual atmosphere with shadow and light



Carrying the undulations through the space inspired by the natural environment in which the rock is found.

- Plywood Structure, finished with a timber veneer
- Interactive bench with a one line wire installation that represents the engravings

- People can take photos with art on the bench and post on social media.



- A feeling of going into a cave area, being emerged by undulations of the landscape of hunter gathers.
- Interactive research table with a big screen as well as individual tablets.

- Research Table: SA Pine structure, cladded in plywood with a Duco spray finish (Charcoal blue)

- Undulations bulkhead: SA Pine structure cladded in timber veneer



-Wired representation of rocks which emulates the geometrics of the actual ‘Kopjes’’ without it being too literal



  • Emulation of a cave ‘unit’ with thin plinth holding the rock at the certain angles.
  • SA Pine structure, cladded in plywood with a Duco spray finish sides and front (Charcoal blue)
    Top of undulations are finished in stucco (concrete-like finish)
  • Rocks supported by galvanized steel plinths
  • Rocks are encased in safety glass


We have come together as a group and worked with the community (The Origins Centre) to create an authentic design which pays respect to the past and present.

We have incorporated the principles of human centered design through the following:
- We approached Lebo (the car guard at Origins Centre) to help us create our visions of certain elements throughout our design. Such as the ‘Kopje’ wire rock formations and the one line wire artworks.
- We are worked closely with Lara from Origins Centre as well as multiple subgroups in this 10 Percent Origins Project
- Throughout our design we have not only considered Origins Centre but also the people of the past as well as the people who will be experiencing the extension to the museum.