The Box, Plymouth

Fitting Plymouths history into a £48m box

The Brief

An idea that first came to light over 12 years ago, and a rebrand of the original Plymouth Museum, the concept of ‘The Box’ has been years in the making. Having already worked on numerous projects together, Leach was thrilled to be appointed by The Hub to produce and install the entire graphic suite to help to bring Plymouth City Council’s exciting vision to life. 

Inviting the public to experience Britain’s Ocean City and all it stands for, The Box was designed as a ‘love-letter’ to the people of Plymouth, commemorating the city’s remarkable history and maritime culture and housing the art, archives and artifacts that have been collected over centuries. Therefore, the graphics had to be sympathetic to the narrative that Event (the designer) and Plymouth City Council had intended.

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The Solution

Leach assigned a dedicated project manager to oversee the entire project. The project manager worked closely with both the design agency and the fit-out contractor, as well as being a single point of contact for the end client, Plymouth City Council. Stakeholder engagement was key to the success of this project, especially to maintain strong communications with all parties during the Covid-19 national lockdown, which came into play mid-way through the project and forced the site to close just two months before the original planned opening date.

As a result, and upon loosening of restrictions, the deadlines for completion were even tighter. Leach’s production and installation team managed to turn graphics around and install them in record time, ensuring a timely opening of the museum.

Leach produced and installed over 3000 graphics across 11 galleries, including 2106 individually printed, American maple panels for the Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy gallery – the largest-ever commemorative Mayflower exhibition. This in particular was a standout gallery for Leach, in which Event wanted to celebrate and tell the story of the 102 passengers who boarded the Mayflower for America in 1620, using illustrative and impactful display graphics.

Thorough prototype sessions gave the designer confidence that Leach had the experience and attitude to complete this project to a high standard. Fourteen different print production methods were used in total, including:

  • Screen prints
  • Frosted vinyl decals
  • Mermet banners
  • Acrylic faced lightboxes
  • Fabric faced lightboxes
  • Showtex voile banners
  • Floor vinyl
  • Acrylic labels
  • Printed Corian
  • Two large etched Corian panels
  • Printed Forex
  • Printed Dibond
  • Large-format Titan wallcoverings
  • Printed MDF panels

The Result

The Box opened its doors to the public in September 2020 with Leach’s stunning display graphics complementing the museums character perfectly.

Overall, the team’s dedicated project management, commitment, and ability to focus production efforts in order to meet fast deadlines, was a critical factor to the success of this project, ensuring the clients expectations were met on every level despite Covid-19 related disruptions.

So far, The Box has received tremendous feedback from visitors, reviewers, and media outlets, and the museum has already won the Conservation/Restoration category of the Museum + Heritage Awards 2020!