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20 Years Along the Blackstone River

The falls that made Woonsocket famous Creating a the Anniversary Exhibit With the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Museum of Work and Culture, part of the Rhode Island Historical Society, director Anne Conway knew what was needed to complement the existing exhibits. Well-represented in the Museum is the story of French-Canadian immigration, life on the […]

1 month, 1 week ago Comments Off on 20 Years Along the Blackstone River

Staying ahead of the current

Planning interpretation along the Current River in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways Home to the most significant number of first magnitude springs in the world and the Current River, the Riverways has been a National Park for 53 years. Before that, there were several Missouri State Parks, Big Spring and Round Spring for instance, that […]

4 months, 2 weeks ago Comments Off on Staying ahead of the current

Illuminating the Luminaries

A space to recognize world-class innovation at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Innovation was a key ingredient in our exhibit which harnessed the power of interactives to extend the WPI Hall of Luminaries brand identity to exhibit graphics, awards, and multi-media. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) alumni have made outsized contributions to the world of scientific innovation. If you see a Segway wiz by or talk to SIRI on your iPhone you are observing the work of WPI alumni. President Laurie Leshin believed WPI’s pioneering spirit deserved a special place at the Institute, a place where their work would serve as a visible reminder of what has been accomplished by men and women educated at the Institute. In her mind, this was not something that existed on a bookshelf, a web page or a plaque or monument on the campus. She wanted it as a place the students gathered and studied—the third floor of the Rubin Campus Center to showcase the WPI Hall of Luminaries.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute photographs of the WPI Hall of Luminaries exhibit and opening event

President Laurie Leshin WPI Hall of Luminaries cuts the ribbon

With only six months to develop and install an exhibit in a student center where a bustling lobby, a conference room, and a large auditorium share the space the team lead by Trivium Interactive with Content•Design as the design lead, also understood that their work needed to be compelling enough for some of the savviest techno geeks in the country. We harnessed innovation and teamwork to bring their stories of the WPI Luminaries to life.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute photographs of the WPI Hall of Luminaries exhibit and opening event

Recognition plaque honoring Dean Kamen a visionary inventor

The Institute provided excellent leadership, the facilities department were proactive in helping us shape a design that would allow existing functions to be unhindered, and yet create a place both dynamic and inspiring. Early ideas considered inclusion of visible examples such as “Ginger” the Segway prototype (Kamen), or even cooler, the rocket (Goddard)! But only a few inductees have work made visible so neatly.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute photographs of the WPI Hall of Luminaries exhibit and opening event

WPI alumni Dean Kamen explores the Wheel of Luminaries

A branding scheme provided by Pop Kitchen featured a sparkler motif with myriad variations, a graphic designers dream. We applied it to the walls, the recognition plaques and the Wheel of Luminaries, an interactive that will peak the interest of students as well as intrigue the Alumni. The feature area was accentuated by a 93-inch tall edge illuminated band that lead visitors from the title-wall to the interactive.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute photographs of the WPI Hall of Luminaries exhibit and opening event

The WPI Hall of Luminaries at the Rubin Campus Center

How do you plan for a recognition program that will last as long as the institution, with new inductees every two years? Content•Design developed an awards wall that featured a grid which will accommodate inductees through 2020. The build partner, 42DesignFab developed a circular edge-lit system to illuminate the recognition plaques, eliminating the need for an unwieldy lightbox.  Additional wall areas will allow the Institute to feature honorees until 2050 and beyond, enough to inspire decades of students.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute photographs of the WPI Hall of Luminaries exhibit and opening event

The award is powered by solar power

The finishing touch to this story of innovation honoring innovation is the Award itself. The concept of light is carried into the design, LEDs hidden in the base of the award, create a sparkle effect that would have made John Boynton, founder of WPI and Luminary, smile.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute photographs of the WPI Hall of Luminaries exhibit and opening event

John Boynton, one of the founders of WPI and one of the Luminaries

We really appreciate having the opportunity to work with a talented team under the direction of Judith Jaeger the Executive Director, Advancement Events & Communications, and University Advancement at Worcester Polytechnic Institute who provided these amazing photographs.

7 months ago Comments Off on Illuminating the Luminaries

Bonding With Clients Over Historical Finishes

Dillaway Thomas House Doorway renovation 183 Roxbury Street, Roxbury Crossing, MA . Bonding with clients over historical finishes

Wallpaper therapy isn’t easy

It was a typical onsite job meeting, representatives from the builders, owners, and designers crowded around folding tables discussing agenda items at the Dillaway Thomas House while construction went on around them. Next on the agenda was a milestone in the design-build process, to review finishes and historical wallpaper submittals by the builder, Campbell Construction Group of Peabody. While the sheet rocker on a platform behind us cut out recessed ceiling spots with his spiral saw, Steve Athanas from Campbell Construction unfolded the reproduction wallpaper samples, varieties of Circle Ornament and Boston Floral Stripe from Adelphi Wallcoverings and Coleman Bower from J. R. Burrows and Co.

Our finishes and furnishings consultant Janice Hobson pointed us in the right direction for the project, but it was John Burrows who helped us focus on wallpapers and carpets indigenous to Boston. Many historic buildings have benefited from his expertise, including the President Taft National Historic Site, the Vermont State Capitol, the General Grant House and well over 120 historic locations in more than 30 states. Now all our efforts were put to the test as we unfolded the submittals and placed them up on the wall adjacent to the existing molding colors.

Our first decision was easy; everyone from Content Design Collaborative and the Department of Conservation and Recreation loved the arts and crafts inspired Coleman Bower located in the northwest parlor that would include stories from 20th century Roxbury. Richly textured, it demonstrates the enduring quality of arts and crafts style.  We debated the merits of the Rose color, shown above, compared to Butterscotch, but the Butterscotch colorway was similar to the existing woodwork color, so it was selected in the interests of unity.

The next pattern decision would prove to be more difficult; here early 19th century sensibilities ran counter to contemporary ideas of balance and proportion. Our initial design called for a blue foliate named Circle Ornament placed in the east parlor with its baby blue moulding color. It is known in the exhibit as the Dillaway Room because the interpretive focus is on the period of occupation for the last two-thirds of the 19th century by the Dillaway family. This style looked smart on the design elevation, but the actual sample did not elicit much enthusiasm. The pattern was stark and the color temperature off. We reviewed all the colorways, each of us took a turn displaying the sample, first designer Ed Malouf, then Jessica Rowcroft of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and finally construction supervisor Steven Athanas held up the winning pattern. A more subdued version of Circle Ornament was selected.

Historic stairwells and back corridors were often completed in an ashlar pattern for ease of repair. These busy passages were often damaged and soiled and by gluing a rectangle over the damaged area, this wallpaper is easily repaired. But this style struck us all as very jarring; instead, we selected the Boston Floral Stripe a modest pattern suited for a secondary space in print scale and style. We selected the blue colorway that looked great adjacent to the blue moulding. It only took the designer switching off with the assistant project manager to reach this consensus (where was the masking tape?).

Back to the irksome Circle Ornament. With our new wallpaper selection, the baby blue moulding appeared too harsh.  Back to the sample books to find a new blue or will another color altogether. Will the result be a contemporary tone on tone that Mrs. Dillaway would have found dull or the electric color combinations that pleased our Victorian ancestors in their dimly lit sitting rooms?

The two early reproduction wallpapers selected and the “difficult” blue moulding
11 months ago Comments Off on Bonding With Clients Over Historical Finishes

Exhibit Makes Way For The Future

How Exhibit Spaces Can Change Roles

Watch this video to see how an exhibit designed to move can transform a gallery. The challenge was to create an interactive exhibit and a changeable gallery suitable for community events. Our solution was to make this substantial installation easily moveable so that a small staff can quickly relocate the cases and graphics.  The curved walls pivot on theater quality caster wheels that lock and level in place, securely hidden from the public.

Exhibits educate visitors about the history of Fall River which was one of the most prosperous mill towns of New England for the Department of Conservation and Recreation at Fall River Heritage State Park

Curved exhibit walls showcase the history of Fall River which was one of the most prosperous mill towns of New England

Our client, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, had the vision to educate visitors about the history of Fall River which was one of the most prosperous mill towns of New England and a to provide a community gallery and meeting space. Visitors can explore artifacts and a variety of interactives and minutes later a community event can be held where the public can create their own history.

Interactive exhibits educate visitors about the history of Fall River which was one of the most prosperous mill towns of New England for the Department of Conservation and Recreation at Fall River Heritage State ParkInteractive exhibits engage visitors with the content

Ed Malouf and Carol Lieb at Content Design Collaborative create flexible spaces. Moveable exhibits give you the ability to host events at your museum within minutes. Let’s talk about how we can help make the best use of your space.

Interpreting historic content to educate visitors about the history of Fall River which was one of the most prosperous mill towns of New England for the Department of Conservation and Recreation at Fall River Heritage State Park

Artifacts cases are secure and move quickly with the exhibit walls to transform the gallery

Special thanks to our actors:  Scott Kamp, Liz Chapin, and Bezzie

Exhibit Design: Ed Malouf and Carol Lieb, Content Design,

Video: www.georgemalouf.com

1 year ago Comments Off on Exhibit Makes Way For The Future