Heritage attractions typically tell stories steeped in history, but that doesn’t mean the displays have to be traditional. In fact, museum, arts and visitor centre exhibits often feature some of the most cutting-edge graphics, technologies and visualisation techniques that exist in the modern display market.
Here, Leach’s head of projects Tom Foster shares three trends he thinks will shape the face of heritage attractions into 2020…
As a noun, materiality relates to the quality of being composed of matter – something that heritage centre exhibits can of course convey with depth. Interactive displays can encourage visitors to explore the materiality of the body for example, or even invite people to imagine the materiality of historic scenarios.
But materiality in 2019 – into 2020 – has a different meaning, in respect of graphics. We’re increasingly seeing our clients experiment with the fabrics they use as part of their exhibits, as they know the effects that varying substrates can have.
Open partitioning, screening and layering is becoming increasingly common, for example, which is seeing us print more and more high definition graphics onto mesh, voile and light or sheer fabrics.
Such a choice introduces an element of dexterity to a display, and layers can help to create a simple 3D appearance without the need to invest in complex or costly hologramatics.
Environmental graphics – large floating backdrops – are also being sought, as a lighter alternative to solid wall coverings such as vinyl’s or floor-to-ceiling wallpapers. This is a trend being witnessed in the UK, USA and also the Middle East.
In fact, we’re being approached by museums designers who have had these ideas and now need help to bring them to life, as well as the materials providers who have received the enquiries and now need a print partner to help execute them. If you need help in either respect, please contact us.
2. Resin floors
Resin-encapsulated graphic floors are increasingly appearing in tenders and new heritage centre specifications. They’re thin – usually only 6-8mm – but durable with great clarity, which means they’re highly sought-after for areas where the display will have long-lasting impact and relevance.
We’ve previously commented on the fact that there are more than four walls in a room, and it’s great that floors are being increasingly recognised as a valuable storytelling surface.
3. Multinational collaborations
Whilst famous heritage centres exist in almost every corner of the world, this industry remains a relatively niche area of specialism. So, when it comes to selecting teams to embark upon new projects – especially those of scale or profile – it is not uncommon for a truly global search to commence.
And most suppliers in this complex environment are of the mindset that, they have the skills and will travel!
Leach is no stranger to working overseas, as we highlighted in our recent blog about creating the largest museum in the world. And as the same blog goes on to highlight, this truly international approach to executing projects is no problem for companies with experience in managing the cultural, language, export and time zone challenges associated with multinational briefs. In fact – we thrive on them!