We were so thrilled to hear that two of our valued clients recently won national awards for interpretive displays we created for them. You might ask, what goes into creating an award-winning visitor attraction? Is there something particular about these exhibits you can bring to your next project? We take a look at these two projects in more detail and examine the common threads which elevate both visitor experiences to that next award-winning level. These Projects started with passionate ideas, and we must acknowledge the dedication of both teams we worked with to bring these projects to life.
Barramundi Discovery Centre, Karumba
We warmly congratulate the team at The Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre in Karumba. This Visitor Information Centre (VIC) recently won the 2020 Best Grey Nomad Attraction or Tour and won the overall Grey Nomad 2020 Best of the Best Award.
“The Barramundi Discovery Centre opens the doors to a world where barramundi reign supreme. Visitors are transported from city slicker to swagman, and welcomed into a realm steeped in rich history, representing an evolving and living dedication to all things barramundi, delivered in Outback Australia.” Grey Nomad Awards.
If you make it up to the top end some time, we highly recommend checking out this centre. It is full of exciting experiences enveloped in a rich history. We were lead consultants on this VIC Project, working with an amazing building designed by Bud Brannigan Architects, and in collaboration with EConnect Communications on the Interpretive Content.
Gallipoli to Armistice Military Trail
Another Project we are incredibly proud to have been involved in, is the Gallipoli to Armistice Military Trail in Maryborough. This display won 2020 Winner: Best Monument or Memorial for the Australian Street Art Awards.
“[A] memorial of significance that celebrates and honours all those who served – everyone who played their part from Gallipoli to Armistice…Twenty-first technology is now showcasing this century-old conflict.”
Again, Brandi Projects were in the role of lead interpretive consultant, developing and delivering various interpretive elements of this memorial. We worked closely with Architect Grant Calder and the Queen’s Park Military Trail Project Committee (QPMTPC). We also engaged and coordinated local specialist tradespeople for this highly emotive community asset. .
How do you go about creating award-winning visitor attractions?
Whilst they’re very different projects, there are similarities. We look at the three aspects executed really well, which help to elevate the experience for the visitor. Addressed cleverly during the exhibit’s design, these elements intertwine seamlessly in unique ways. The end result is a fully immersive and award-winning visitor attraction.
Great visitor attractions draw the audience in on an emotional level. They encourage the visitor to immerse themselves in the story and subject. There are many and varied ways of achieving engagement. Almost always, they are multi-dimensional. Creating something magical and memorable often starts with involving the whole building inside and out, based on the end vision for your target audience. Elements of building and site design, layout and finish can really contribute to overall engagement. The process involves building mood and emotional memory literally from the ground up. Immersive ideation can begin with the building and its internal layout and structure. We build upon this through the exhibit design and structure, content, and components like interactives. Finer details of sound, texture, lighting and colour enhance the final impact.
The target audience is always primary when considering your visitor experience. Your audience is often more than a singular group. Usually, attractions must cater to a diverse audience, this might include school children, grey nomads, overseas tourists and other stakeholders. Or perhaps smaller subsets of individuals within your community. In considering your target audience fully, the experience should have varying levels of information to accommodate the different levels of education or involvement required. Interpreting the needs of all your audiences, and delivering multiple methods of providing the information is key. This approach also offers return visitors something new to engage with on subsequent visits.
The opportunity for the audience to physically interact with the exhibit space not only helps to create engagement ‘in the moment’ it also helps to infuse lasting memory. Your display, centre or exhibit is more likely to leave an impression on visitors. This means, they feel excited to share their experience with family and friends. It’s a display with that WOW factor. We love to create talking points for visitors incorporating video and sound, interactive components, moveable parts, and interesting use of graphics. In this age of social media, we also create varied photo opportunities throughout the site. There must always be something Insta Worthy!
The right advice, at the right time
These projects are great examples of how a dedicated team of local people can create something powerful for their community. They also show how embracing the right help, at the right stage of the project can make all the difference.
It’s one thing to have the resources (time or money) to put together your visitor attraction. It’s another entirely to know where those resources should be allocated in a large scale project. You may have a dedicated team on board and a wealth of knowledge, but how do you utilise those things to produce something truly unforgettable?
As experienced exhibit designers and builders, we could step in at various stages of a visitor attraction project. From the concept stage right through to research and content development, design, construction and installation, we can assist your team. These two visitor attraction examples show the benefit to teams when we collaborate as early as possible in the decision-making process.
Coming in early in the advisory stage on these projects meant we were able to use our experience to help shape outcomes. We were able to offer advice on visitor flow in the space and give our input into content layers and immersive concepts. As well as helping to guide the sequential steps of the large project maze. The teams were able to utilise our experience in consulting and project management to the fullest. In these cases, the results were award-winning.
More informed decision-making
When it comes to creating a visitor attraction, there are a huge number of decisions to be made, many of which impact the end result. Being able to trust in outside expertise is crucial. From simply trusting that the project is going to be completed on time and to budget; to trusting that your ideas are going to be handled in ways that exceed your expectations.
It is not about taking over your concepts or decision-making, but listening to you, realising the specific needs of your project and providing you with good-sense practical solutions to consider. This approach helps you make better decisions, creating with you (and other stakeholders) as much as for you, a memorable, trip-advisor worthy display you can be proud of.