Commercial survival has encouraged museum designers to look to brand experiences or even hotel design whilst theatre designers are happily moving in the other direction to create blockbuster exhibitions. One major national museum thinks that their important exhibition design programmes is best left in the hands of architects. The change in creative roles is reflected in emerging academic agendas with Central St Martins and the RCA feeding the market and the drive for diversification. Speakers will include Real Studios who are museum, exhibition, interior, leisure, interactive exhibit and visitor centre designers whose projects include the David Bowie exhibition at the V & A, Cosmonauts – Birth of the Space Age at the Science Museum and The Old Brewer restaurant Greenwich; Carmody Groake – architects whose design work includes pop up restaurants such as The Filling Station King’s Cross, exhibitions, the UK Pavilion for the 2015 Guadalajara International Book Fair and recently the Frieze art fair; and MET Studio, an experiential design consultancy working out of offices in London, Hong Kong and Mexico City – their work includes Concept Design for LEGO Brand House; York’s Chocolate Story; and Sea Voyage at Het Scheepvaartmuseum.
Speaker: Pippa Nissen
Pippa Nissen describes how her recent exhibition work has been influenced by her theatre and architecture background and how it has come together in the design of narrative spaces. She particularly enjoys collaborating with other artists as part of the design process. Her presentation will be illustrated by the work she has done for the British Council, Southbank Centre, Design Museum London, the V&A, Aldeburgh Festival, Imperial War Museum, and the V&A Museum of Childhood.
Speaker: Peter Karn
Peter Karn will discuss design solutions that “cross the line” or are “indefinable”. They often and create interesting and successful results, which are diverse and are engaging experiences for visitors. However they can be tricky to sell as concepts to clients as they are perhaps deemed experimental and are hard to benchmark against other experiences. Many creatives are currently developing a series of projects that simply create experiences for visitors but do not fit into any specific category or genre. Are they exhibitions? Art installations? Brand experiences? The answer is none of these but they take influences and techniques from all to create something bespoke and unique that works for the client, audience and brief. This collaborative approach allows ideas to be challenged in more diverse ways as teams are made up of creatives and experts from a variety of different disciplines. Designers can all too easily become set in their ways if not constantly challenged, questioned and inspired. “Crossing the line” into different disciplines is a good way of keepings things fresh and as a creative agency this is essential for survival. Combined disciplines can produce the best results, both creatively and functionally, as it allows designers to broaden their horizons and create more relevant and meaningful experiences as they have more tools at their disposal and a deeper more meaningful dialogue with their team. Maybe to create progress and great work we need to blur the boundaries of design disciplines and not be afraid to create “indefinable” projects’.
Speaker: Kevin Carmody
Since establishment in 2006, Carmody Groarke have worked on a diversity of scales and and typologies within the cultural sector throughout the UK and overseas. Kevin Carmody will talk about a range of projects which illustrate these such as the timescale of projects and how they relate to contexts in which they are situated. In terms of timescale, projects from the very temporary (exhibitions, artist collaborations, fit-outs and pavilions) to the very permanent (completed buildings, galleries and museums). In terms of context, projects which relate to their historic context to entirely new buildings and through this diversity of context, how architectural ideas are developed to create memorable visitor experiences. The talk will pose questions about whether the visitor experience of cultural architectural projects should be foreground, or background or both.
Speaker: Alistair McCaw
Why do so many exhibition designers tend to stick with their core business rather than using their multi-disciplinary skills to branch out to other sectors of the design industry? Where they do, are there significance differences in the competition, the client, the process or the delivery?
We trace Real Studios’ diversification into interior design and where it might be heading next.
As AV is used more and more and the technology changes faster than ever it is critical to include audio visual in all stages of the design process. This session, aimed at architects, designers, operators and all of those involved in building attractions will look at some examples of the type of technologies currently being deployed and some of the aesthetic and operational challenges that need to be resolved to make them work.
Speaker: Blair Parkin
Shaping places, spaces, exhibits and experiences is a craft that involves designers and architects of all disciplines and specialities. Increasingly technology plays a major part in the successful outcome – yet technology is often planned for after the key designs are complete. It is like trying to add the plumbing after the building is 100% designed. The architectural (and exhibit) design process on both sides of the Atlantic has been slow to embrace technology as a core discipline – yet where it has success typically follows. Blair Parkin will discuss, using examples, the better integration of design disciplines with technologists to create a better outcome for the visitor and the operator.
Speaker: Mark Sutton-Vale
Great lighting can transform a good place into a wonderful experience. A place that could have been wonderful can be downgraded by bad lighting. Mark will describe and analyse the good, the bad and the ugly parts of interacting with clients, emphasising the story and the brand, designing the lighting and making it all work. He will talk about costs, energy, sustainability and keeping it working well. He will discuss projects where he designed the lighting such as the London 2012 Olympic Park, a dining and wine tasting attraction and the National Museum of Oman, and will show and discuss projects by other designers. Mark will use his experience of lighting some of the highest profile projects in the world to show how lighting can energise projects and bring them alive.
Speaker: Nevil Bounds
Nothing is worse than an expensive exhibit with a show stopping “Out Of Order” sign on it or an expected invoice for thousands of pounds worth of projector bulbs ARRIVING 6 months after a project has opened. How can we plan for operational costs? Is there anyone who can do this for us? Is it better to train an in-house team of technicians or take out a service contract?
This session will lead operators and owners through the options for how to look after your system. It will also discuss the reasons why spending a little more on hardware can cut costs later along with the difficulties of budgeting for operational costs when only capital costs are funded.
Speaker: Dave Patten
Designing exhibitions is a lengthy and complex process and designing and delivering exceptional exhibitions involves many disciplines. It is essential to bring the right people and expertise to the project at the right time and that there is respect for each other’s expertise within the project team. Media rich exhibitions demand that as much focus is spent integrating the media and technical solutions as is given to choosing objects and writing text. Decisions around the technology employed can have far reaching consequences both for the successful outcome of a project and it’s operating life. In this session Dave Patten will share some of his experiences of developing exhibitions at the Science Museum.
Both in the UK and overseas, museums, galleries, theme parks and other visitor destinations are looking at how to increase their revenue streams and brand awareness. Whilst ticket sales and government grants are traditionally the main source of revenue, retail/merchandise, catering, brand deals/licensing, touring exhibitions, special events & digital engagement have become a major factors in generating significant & necessary income, and awareness. Creative & well designed & delivered merchandise, products and services, including the retail offer & F & B outlets, have become integral parts of the visitor experience. What is vital for this sector to realise is that the formats which are developed must be as compelling, immersive and as experiential as the exhibitions and experiences which their guests have been exposed to during their visit.
This session will present a set of parameters which must be considered to ensure that the commercial aspirations of any destination are met, whilst maintaining the integrity of its brand and strategic aspirations. The session would illustrate this approach with Karina Srtlyan (Deputy Director, MosART agency, Moscow Department of Culture), Roderick Buchanan (Director of Retail and Buying and Sales, British Museum), Ben Warner (co-founder of Benugo – including V&A Café, Ashmolean Dining Room and Museum Brasserie, National Museum of Scotland), Callum Lumsden (Retail Designer – including shops for Warner Bros Studio Tour-Harry Potter Leavesden, British Museum, MoMA-New York and Tate Modern) discussing how they have tackled these challenges in the sectors, followed by a discussion with delegates to get their ideas & views.
Speaker: Roderick Buchanan
The British Museum Company has gone through a significant change, since 2008, of all its commercial activities. All aspects have been challenged – shop design, product design, staff training, e-commerce and food offer. As the opening speaker for this session. Roderick Buchanan will touch on the museum’s strategy to improve the visitor experience. How it challenged the perceived wisdom that visitors will buy anything and how the museum learned what visitors use in their daily lives and want to buy into. Knowing this could help grow our business. Roderick will also talk about what didn’t work well and how we have used this knowledge to continually improve our offer. Since 2009, The British Museum Company retail profit has increased three fold and is continuing to grow. This has been achieved against the backdrop of recession and has been made possible by adapting and continually improving the offer for visitors.
Speaker: Ben Warner
Too often, in the past, museums & leisure attractions took the “captive audience” mentality and served poor quality food by disenchanted staff in uninspiring surroundings, in the belief that visitors would buy it anyway. With a growing interest in good food and a demand for higher standards; and the need for museums and attractions to increase revenue, Benugo set out to change the whole F&B offer in museums & attractions. Its mission was to offer an amazing food and drink experience which truly reflected the values of the museum/attraction and enhanced every visitors experience of it. Twelve years on, Benugo operate in six of the top ten most visited museums and public spaces in the UK – notably The British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, British Film Institute, The Barbican and ENO. The enhanced and creative food offers have not only driven huge (and much needed) increases in revenue for the museums but in many cases, the catering offer have become destinations in their own right. This presentation is on how Benugo did it and it will give you ideas for your attraction/museum.
Speaker: Kirstie Imber
In response to the global financial crisis and increasing cuts to the arts, Bury Art Museum recognized the potential of developing relationships with international cultural partners, focusing specifically on the sale of touring exhibitions. Following a highly successful touring exhibition across China in 2012-13, which generated significant income for all the UK regional museums involved, Bury Art Museum have focused their energies on establishing a sustainable international touring exhibitions programme, working closely with other regional museums across the UK. ‘Touring Exhibitions – Can They Produce Revenue?’ will focus on the successes and challenges of working internationally, together with some of the more practical elements involved, such as: developing new relationships with international cultural partners; funding models and budgets; and how regional museums negotiate the risks of working internationally.
Retail in the cultural and visitor destination sector has changed radically over the past 30 years and
Callum will present his views on how the ‘gift shop’ has evolved into a vital business proposition for the
sector. He will discuss how they need to consider themselves as brands, how visitor destinations need
to be bold about their retail proposition and, most importantly, how they can generate more income by
looking at a wider spectrum of retail design in order to differentiate themselves from the current malaise
of retail on the high street.
Speaker: Karina Srtlyan
Karina Srtlyana will describe how Moscow museums, such as the Museum of Moscow and Museum of Cosmonautics, have improved their image and revenue by improving their shops and how one of Moscow’s largest museum, the Tretyakov Gallery, is modernising all the aspects related to museum store management from new team recruitment to product development and implementation of product range analysis techniques and stock management procedures. She will also cover a project on new Moscow souvenirs, on behalf of Moscow Department of Culture, aimed to reflect the new image of Moscow through the new merchandise.
There will be a session highlighting opportunities overseas including a study that has been made to new opportunities in China; Buenos Aires cultural district; and planned attractions & museums in the United Arab Emirates including Dubai 2020 Expo.
Speaker: Enrique Avogadro
The newly appointed government of Argentina is confident about the opportunities that the countries creative economy can bring. After running the City of Buenos Aires for eight years, Mauricio Macri, Argentina´s new President, is willing to expand the city´s successful policies in the field of cultural and creative industries to the national level. Buenos Aires Creative Districts have been an important factor in the city´s transformation, and are already a regional best practice. The local entrepreneurial ecosystem, carefully nurtured by the government, was also an active ingredient in the creative policies mix (Buenos Aires won the 2015 Global Cities Challenge at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress). Enrique Avogadro will share information about these policies, as a means to introducing a look ahead into the countries new cultural and creative plans.
Speaker: Archana Singh
UK Export Finance is the UK’s export credit agency and a government department that helps exporters by providing insurance to exporters and guarantees to banks to share the risks of providing export finance. UKEF provides free advice to UK companies through a regional network of 24 Export Finance Advisers. In this presentation, Archana Singh and Julian Lynn (Export Finance Adviser) will explain how UKEF can help exporters to identify, quantify, manage and minimise the financial risks of exporting.
Speaker: Jonathan Robson
Jonathan Robson of UKTI, who is a regular visitor to China, and previous resident, who will present the main findings and specific opportunities from a report on leisure & entertainment developments in China and the opportunities for companies that want to provide attractions & products for shopping malls:
More restrictive policies on land use and lower land appreciation rates are pressing Chinese developers to align more with the country’s cultural objectives and enhance their brand features – an innovative experience based model is a key driver for future growth. Chinese leisure attractions are now faced with incoming world-level competition from companies like Disney and DreamWorks, which will greatly weaken their dominant market position and push them to pursue higher professionalism and quality services. The consumer base for leisure attractions consumption keeps growing because of the wealth accumulation of the middle class and the demographic feature which leads to an increase in children-based spending. There is also a strong drive to create indigenous IPs, but importing recognized IPs from abroad is an attractive option for Chinese developers in the short term. From the regulatory point of view, there are very few barriers to UK companies entering. Apart from compliance issues on imported equipment, most other issues will be the responsibility of the Chinese partners. However, developers vary hugely in terms of their expertise and level of professionalism when working with foreign partners. The level of recognition for professional services is still lacking, therefore, first establishing then sustaining personal contact with the key stakeholder is the most important element to market entry in China.
Speaker: Graham Ellis
The UAE is fast meeting its aspiration to transform itself into one of the best countries in the world by 2021, when it celebrates its 50th anniversary. Key to this aspiration is to position Dubai as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub. Good transport links, a variety of hotels, retail and restaurants plus a number of amazing tourist and leisure attractions – with more planned – alongside hosting the next World Expo 2020, make Dubai’s 20 million annual visitor target more than achievable. Theme parks currently under development are expected to generate $5bn annually by 2020 while the Expo site, hotels, retail and related infrastructure developments could see investment total some $40bn.
This is therefore an exciting time for Dubai and one of massive investment – meaning real opportunities for UK companies (some 5000 UK companies are already involved in the UAE, whether in design, construction, ICT, creative & experience economy, financial and professional services).
Museum of London Docklands
West India Quay
London E14 4AL