The Big Picture

3M wanted to bring a vision of our future to SXSW Interactive. Their vision was to communicate the urgency of coming together to preserve our natural resources and protect our environment in a way that highlighted both the rich history of their scientific research as well as the values at the foundation of their company.

Who is 3M

With over 46 technology platforms across nearly 70 different countries, 3M is at the forefront of applied scientific research and innovation. Since 1902, they have been committed to global science and quality products.

What We Did
  • Experiential

3M’s Goal

3M sought to translate the vitality of their brand, their products, and their values into something tangible for a SXSW Interactive experience. Their goal was to create a vision of the future, an immersive look at life in the year 2050, when the planet is projected to be home to more than 9 billion people.

“The Big Picture,” a dynamic structural system located in Brush Square Park, focused on how we as human beings can act now to address and better navigate through future social and environmental obstacles.

Our Approach

DSNMFG constructed a series of installations that guided participants towards a conceptual and spatial understanding of our place as human beings in an intricate fabric of biological and ecological systems. Each installation was custom furnished and fabricated at our Austin studios to highlight its unique aesthetic and alignment to 3M’s overarching goal - improve every life.


Building the big picture to communicate
human impact.

Visitors to “The Big Picture” were guided through five different zones that evolved from experiences of chaos and confusion to cohesion and understanding. Each visitor played the role of a particle or natural material in 3M’s experimentation processes, which are built to ensure that our human impact on the planet is both productive and sustainable.

  • Industrial Design
  • Spacial Design
  • Custom Fabrication
  • Environmental Design
  • Brand Activation

Experiencing a Better World

Visitors entered a labyrinth of dark spheres that morphed into a web made of black 3M reflective tape and suspended rectangular panels. The final zone consisted of a 3D model of the cellular structure made of laser-cut cardboard and laminated in 3M Scotchlite reflective material.

Maximize the Space

The DSNMFG staff carefully selected the materials for each installation to align with the aesthetic appeal and core theme of 3M’s vision. The size and shape of each installation was designed to facilitate movement that gradually revealed the narrative 3M wanted construct.

The Outcomes

The DSNMFG team was able to transform a process into a visceral, physical experience that communicated 3M’s vision. Because of this, SXSW visitors were able to get a clear understanding of 3M’s process and products, and why they are so passionately committed to sustainability.

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