MET Studio creates new permanent exhibition at IWM Duxford
A new permanent exhibition for IWM (Imperial War Museum) Duxford opens this Spring, with design by MET Studio. The new exhibition, called Historic Duxford, will focus on Duxford’s history as a fully-operational military airfield from 1918 through to 1961. Importantly, the exhibition will give a textured and broad account of life at RAF Duxford,
featuring not just pilots and commanding officers, but ground crew, domestic staff and cleaners. Visitors get a glimpse of everyday life at this famous fighter base, from leisure time occupations to living quarters, even touching on airfield romance! The project will encompass a trail around some of the historic buildings that visitors may not usually connect with. Personal stories and testimonies will give visitors a direct insight into the lives of the men and women who lived and worked on this busy RAF base.
Alex McCuaig invited to speak in Paris and Toronto
MET Studio Chairman and CEO Alex McCuaig was invited to take part in two leading seminar sessions this autumn. The first was at the TEA SATE Conference in Paris, where Alex presented MET Studio’s ground-breaking ‘Drugs Information Centre’ projects in Hong Hong and Mexico. Alex’s speech was variously described as ‘dynamic’, ‘compelling’ and ‘one of the most interesting presentations’ of the event. The second invitation came from Construct Canada, the country’s leading architecture and design event, which takes place at the end of November. Alex has been invited to join an International Interior Design Round Table discussion on how design can impact on human behaviour, on the second day of the event - http://www.constructcanada.com/seminars/detail.php?id=1907&sem=S105
New City Gallery opens at Hong Kong City Hall
MET Studio, with joint partners Oval Partnership, has created a stunning new gallery and exhibition venue, taking as its theme Hong Kong’s planning and infrastructure and located within the existing Annex of Hong Kong’s City Hall. The limited footprint and restricted ceiling height of the existing building created a number of design challenges that were met with creative innovation. Vertical connections have been added in key locations joining floors, with slots and view paths and openings were added in unusual areas to create a dynamic and complex space for visitors to explore. To bring this broad and challenging subject to life, the design team created focus elements, including uniquely Hong Kong features, such as red market lighting, neon signage and old metal folding gates, so that the exhibition would resonate strongly with local people and create a sense of ownership.
War Horse shortlisted for FX Awards
War Horse: Fact & Fiction, designed by MET Studio for London’s National Army Museum in Chelsea, has been announced as a finalist in the ‘Museum or Exhibition space’ category of the FX International Interior Design Awards 2012, which will be be awarded on November 22nd at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London. The exhibition, which tells the incredible real-life story of the use of horses in warfare right through British military history, ties in with the original War Horse novel by Michael Morpurgo, the National Theatre’s stage production and the Steven Spielberg-directed film. The key objectives were to create a dramatic, interactive and immersive experience for the visitor about the story of horses in war, via a series of interactive exhibits and areas, as well as through focus points that reflect the power and impact of the ‘War Horse’ story. Janice Murray, Director at the National Army Museum, said: “The War Horse: Fact & Fiction exhibition has been our greatest success. We're thrilled that the creative partnership with Met Studio has been recognised with this nomination.”
London 2012 Olympics film-show commissioned for City Hall
The GLA (Greater London Authority) and energy specialists EDF commissioned MET Studio to create a spectacular triple-screen film show to celebrate the Olympic Games, London 2012, which played on a 24-hour continuous loop on the front of the iconic City Hall building, home to the Mayor of London. The visually-stunning content and eye-catching narrative – featuring dancers, fire and allusions to London icons - launched with a day and night continuous run across the three giant LED screens, organized in a pyramid shape on the front of the building.
MET Studio creates Olympic Park Pavilion Exhibit for EDF
MET Studio has created an exciting 3D brand experience exhibit for EDF, official partner of and electricity supplier to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, housed in a purpose-built Pavilion (by architects Schmidhuber) within the London 2012 Olympic Park. The 600 sq m Pavilion - a giant, semi-open tensile structure made of recyclable materials and covered in a perforated mesh - is sited next to the main athletics stadium and will stand for the duration of the games, from the Olympics opening ceremony right through to the end of the Paralympic Games. The over-arching theme was to communicate to visitors how essential electricity is to our everyday lives. Every exhibit and graphic within the Pavilion links back to our experience of electricity at a human level and this forms the organising principle behind the exhibit.
Latest project set to open – CHOCOLATE – York's Sweet Story
MET Studio has designed a brand new �2m visitor attraction in York, based on the city's fascinating and enduring role in the manufacture of chocolate and confectionery over the last two centuries, for operator Continuum. The new visitor attraction, called 'CHOCOLATE - York's Sweet Story', will tell the stories behind the original leading confectionery names and innovators who came from the city, including Rowntree's, Craven's and Terry's and is scheduled to open to the public in April.
The three-storey attraction will be housed in a prime site in York's most historic area, at the end of the famous medieval Shambles, opening onto the pedestrianised King's Square and with views through to York's world-famous Minster. The building housing the 650 sq m attraction, formerly retail and offices space, is being made fit for purpose by Skelton Consultancy, whilst the interior fit-out and exhibition (including all graphics and script) will be by MET Studio.
FX Feature celebrates MET Studio anniversary
FX Magazine has published a major profile of MET Studio Chairman and Founder Alex McCuaig this Spring to celebrate the agency's 30th anniversary in 2012. The profile, which looks back to the studio's earliest days and at many of its landmark projects, calls the company 'a byword for innovative exhibition design'. The feature goes on to quote Alex as saying that MET Studio's staff are'designers and storytellers' and says that it's the consistency and quality of their work that has ensured the company's success. 'Some design companies have specific styles, and you can easily identify them,' he says. 'MET Studio is much more about high-end bespoke design. We've set the bar very high for ourselves. Every client has the right to get a different project.'
War Horse opens at National Army Museum
War Horse: Fact & Fiction, a new temporary exhibition at London's National Army Museum in Chelsea, has now opened, with design by MET Studio. The new exhibition, aimed at a family audience, tells the incredible real-life story of the use of horses in warfare right through British military history, tying in with the original War Horse novel by Michael Morpurgo (who has given the exhibition his support), the National Theatre's award-winning War Horse stage production and the Steven Spielberg-directed War Horse film, now on general release.
'"The exhibition is a separate entity from the book, play and film, although it was inspired primarily by the book", explained MET Studio Associate Peter Karn. "It looks at the fascinating facts that lie behind the fiction and keeps the main focus on the story's World War One setting, but additionally traces the story of horses in war right back to medieval times. As the original novel was based on fact, but brought to life in a hugely memorable way, so we have tried to animate this extraordinary history both artfully and evocatively."
Grand Designs applauds our Campaign for Wool stand
Grand Designs Magazine is a fan of our innovative stand design for the 'Campaign for Wool' - made out of giant letters and showcasing different applications of wool - awarding the stand a special badge of approval after its first showing at 'Grand Designs Live 2011'.
Bernie Herlihy, Editor of Grand Designs said, "We decided that it would be good to reward the best-looking exhibitor stands at the show by handing over a GRAND DESIGNS MAGAZINE… LOVES award, which they could proudly display throughout the show".
'We absolutely loved the Campaign for Wool stand", added Bernie. "It had real impact at the show, it was strikingly colourful, kids were clambering all over it, adults couldn't resist stroking the large letters as they walked past, or in fact sitting on them. All in all we thought the effort that had gone into making such a showstopper should be recognised in some way.'
Two new Company Associates announced
MET Studio is pleased to announce the appointment of two new Associates at its London office, who will boost the company's senior management structure and further drive business development with both the company's museum and institutional client base. The new Associates are Senior 3D designer Peter Karn and branding and communications specialist Alexander McCuaig, both of whom have worked for the company for over five years. They join a management structure led by company founder, Chairman and CEO Alex McCuaig, who originally set MET Studio up in 1982 and remains a hands-on presence across the London and Hong Kong offices, supported by two Design Directors: Lloyd Hicks in London and Neil Williams in Hong Kong.
'It's vital to our continuing success in winning new work to reflect a balance of youth and experience', commented Chairman Alex McCuaig, 'and these appointments will ensure that balance within the company structure. The new seniority of the Associates will also see them playing a more major front-end role as we expand into new markets.'
Peter Karn wins Komfort Workspace competition
MET Studio Senior Designer Peter Karn has been announced as the winner of a competition to design the perfect workspace. The competition, run by Komfort Workspace in conjunction with FX Magazine and online site WIDN, culminated in a ceremony at Komfort London's showroom. Peter's entry was called 'Gravitate' and centred on a glass elevator moving between storeys, each of which has its own individual ambience and soundscape. The judges said that Peter's entry won because 'it allowed workers to travel through different floors, spaces and environments according to their mood'. At the ceremony, the entry was printed across an entire wall of the Komfort Workspace conference room to form a permanent installation.
MET Studio designs 3 galleries in Ningbo, China
MET Studio has completed the design of three galleries for China's new Ningbo Science Exploration Centre, due to open in Spring 2012. The 50,000 sq m new-build centre will house six permanent galleries in total, across two storeys, and MET Studio (in a joint undertaking between the company's London and Hong Kong offices) won the pitch to design three of the six galleries, after taking part in an international pitch involving design companies from Europe, the USA, Japan and China.
The subject matter for the new-build science centre is the natural world and the laws of physics, with an underlying didactic message about how we can best protect the earth, by examining how we live on earth and how we sustain our quality of life on earth. The centre will be one of the major attractions in a new cultural plaza in the city of Ningbo, which will also include an IMAX theatre, a Children's Museum and a Performing Arts Centre. Ningbo, a seaport and one of China's oldest cities, located on the country's eastern coast, south of Hangzhou Bay. The three large-scale galleries, each measuring between 2,000 and 2,500 sq m, are entitled 'Universe', 'Harmonious Home' and 'Ocean'. The MET Studio London team has designed 'Universe' and 'Harmonious Home', whilst the company's Hong Kong team is overseeing the 'Ocean' gallery.
MET Studio founder appointed to prestigious Architectural Jury
Alec McCuaig, founder and Chairman of MET Studio, was invited to be on the selection panel to judge the architectural concept work of five of the world's leading architects for the design of the Museum of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guadalajara's Cultural Center in Mexico. The museum will be the fourth cultural building to be constructed for the Cultural Center based on the masterplan developed by the architect Cesar Pelli. Alex was one of only half a dozen jurors who were able to debate and decide this prestigious commission from amongst a 'who's who' list of international architects' practices, including Diller Scofidio & Renfro (USA); Snohetta (Norway); Shigeru Ban (Japan); Smiljan Radic (Chile) and Mauricio Rocha (Mexico).
We redesign the Libyan Pavilion at Shanghai in just 25 days
MET Studio has redesigned the Libyan Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo from scratch in just 25 days from commission to completion, after the Libyan government failed to be impressed with the original, designed by another company. The Shanghai 2010 Expo originally opened in late Spring 2010, but the initial Libyan Pavilion failed to find favour with the Libyan government, with Colonel Gadaffi's son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, stating (according to Reuters) that his country's entry was the 'weakest and the worst participation' in the Expo. He vowed to oversee a redesign of the Pavilion and the governmental agency Ecou (Engineering Consulting Office for Utilities) was charged with the seemingly impossible task of demolishing the existing Pavilion and commissioning, producing and building version two in the required timeframe.
Architect Yi-Ching Liu (formerly of Zaha Hadid's office) designed the new building envelope and MET Studio was tasked with creating the new interior and exhibition, bringing in its most trusted creative team to achieve the task. The theme for the new Pavilion was 'Beautiful Libya and so much more'. With an AV- and graphic-led exhibition, MET Studio was able to talk about Libya's past and culture, but also to show some of the highly environmentally-conscious building programmes of the current day and hopefully help change people's opinions of this fast-changing and exciting country. The client commented upon re-opening 'It was a difficult, challenging and demanding task, but your joint efforts and teamwork have made it a success story after all. Those who have demonstrated their willingness to do their best in the execution of this project will always be appreciated.'
Three awards shortlistings in first half of year
Three MET Studio projects have been shortlisted for three different awards so far in 2010. The BugWorld Experience (which also got an Honourable Mention in the ICIAD Ring Awards 2009 in China), was a finalist in the Scottish Design Awards exhibition design category. The Manchester United Experience, Asia's first interactive football environment, was a finalist in the International Award section of the UK's Museums and Heritage Awards, whilst Conflicts of Interest, our stunning, graphics-led exhibition for the National Army Museum in the UK, made the final four for the UK Art Fund Prize 2010, the UK's largest single arts prize.
David Attenborough praises Budongo Trail
Sir David Attenborough paid a recent visit to the Budongo Trail Chimpanzee exhibit, created by MET Studio (together with Cooper Cromar Architects) for The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, where he was presented with the Society’s first Centenary Medal by HRH The Princess Royal. He was impressed with the whole exhibit and wrote to express his thanks with the words:
‘The Budongo exhibit is a truly outstanding achievement. I suppose everyone who has had first hand acquaintance with chimps in the wild must initially have reservations about keeping such creatures in captivity, particularly in a non-tropical environment, but the Budongo installation is so remarkable and imaginative that it banishes those doubts.’
MET Studio has worked in conjunction with The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Cooper Cromar Architects over a two-year period to design and build this world class Chimpanzee enclosure. The exhibition focuses on the conservation effort currently taking place in the Budongo forest, Uganda, by introducing visitors to the tireless efforts being made in the preservation of our closest animal cousins. The exhibit has already been billed as one of Europe’s leading zoological interpretational experiences.
MET Studio’s Lindsay Barchan chosen by DBA as a’ Bright Spark 2010’
MET Studio exhibition designer Lindsay Barchan has been selected by the DBA (Design Business Association) as one of eleven young designers to take part in the DBA’s ‘Bright Sparks’ programme for 2010. The scheme has been set up to allow the designers to benefit from the ‘insight, knowledge and experience’ of a group of design pioneers, via a series of masterclasses given over the course of the year. Lindsay was selected for the scheme after taking part in the DBA event, ’The Edge’, in December 09, where 16 design pioneers met with 130 young creatives from across the UK and Europe. Lindsay commented ’The Edge was an event which was really beneficial to me, because it enabled me to talk informally with our industry’s highest-calibre designers and creatives. Being selected as one of the ’Bright Sparks’ will now allow this great opportunity for communication and education to carry on. It’s a real privilege.’
MET Studio has designed a challenging, graphics-led exhibition called ‘Conflicts of Interest’ for Britain’s National Army Museum. The brief was to create a new temporary gallery, which would examine the last 30 years of major conflicts involving the British armed forces across the globe and the impact of these conflicts on forces personnel and their domestic lives. The approach was to consider multiple, first-hand perspectives from all levels of the British Army, in order to give voice to both the positive and more negative aspects of a soldier’s life.
The BugWorld Experience®, a brand new £3.8m visitor attraction that promises visitors the opportunity to get 'up close and personal' with the fascinating world of bugs, has now opened in a Grade-I listed building in Liverpool's Albert Dock. Leading American exhibit designers and fabricators Academy Studios were approached to help design and develop the exhibition and they then invited MET Studio on board. Under the joint venture name of MASi, MET Studio and Academy Studios subsequently won the pitch to design the 13,000 sq ft visitor experience in the Summer of 2008, joining a wider creative team on the project that also included Scottish interior designers Cubit3D; software designers AllofUs and film production company Centre Screen, who devised the main AV show within the attraction. 'The inspiration for the attraction came from a visit by RGI's founder Des Rogers to an insectarium in Canada', explained Alexandra Prescott, MET Studio's lead designer on the scheme. The resulting concept for a UK attraction is one where entertainment and education are finely balanced through a variety of engaging exhibits. There is much to be learnt at BugWorld about the world of bugs, but the emphasis is definitely on having fun in what is essentially a leisure rather than a museum experience.'
MET Studio has completed a future-facing technology showcase called FusionWorld for A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research)'s Science and Engineering Council (SERC), at their corporate office at Fusionopolis@one-north in Singapore. MET Studio's role was as creative director and concept designer of the FusionWorld gallery, as well as overseeing design implementation, which was carried out by regional specialists Design Act Pte Ltd (with AV exhibits developed to MET Studio's specification by Multi Media People).
'Our brief', commented Fusion World's lead designer, MET Studio's Peter Karn, 'was to create a 'technology wonderland', where both public and corporate guests could book to attend a focused demonstration of the latest advances and achievements created by SERC and A*STAR.' The gallery's content, therefore, had to be able to be understood by both a specialist and a lay audience. 'The result', explained Peter Karn, 'is a theatrical and layered inspirational teaser space, where showcase guides can go into as much or as little detail as they wish, showing prototypes where required or simply allowing the gallery's 'wow factor' to dominate.'
MET Studio has been commissioned to design a major new series of galleries, collectively entitled 'The Maritime Experience', for the Netherlands Maritime Museum ('Nederlands Scheepvaart Museum') in the heart of Amsterdam's nautical district. The museum is currently undergoing a large-scale renovation project, overseen by leading Dutch architects Atelier Zeinstra van der Pol, which seeks to restore the splendour of the original building. A number of new gallery areas will also be created as part of this ambitious scheme, which offers over 200,000 visitors annually the possibility to discover and experience the maritime history and culture of this seafaring nation. MET Studio - in a joint venture with Dutch contractor Hypsos and content specialists Tinker Imagineers - is responsible for four ground-floor rooms at the top right corner of the square building, framing the new courtyard space. The £1m, 450 sq m project was won in a 5-way pitch against a number of leading Dutch and European consortia and is due to complete at the same time as the overall museum refurbishment in Spring 2010.
MET Studio has completed the design of an exciting, new, immersive exhibition and experience for the world's most famous football club, Manchester United. The Manchester United Experience is a £1.5m, 1000 sq m indoor attraction, located within the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel in Macau. It is the first ever visitor attraction featuring the club to be opened outside of Manchester United's Old Trafford heartland (and Asia's only interactive football experience) and has been created to appeal to both fans and a lay audience alike. 'Our ambition in designing the space', commented MET Studio's Alexander McCuaig, head of graphics and AV on the project, 'was to create the most exciting and world-class football experience outside of actually watching the beautiful game live.' Visitors are taken through the highly interactive experience on a route, which covers everything from the earliest beginnings of the club to a real sense of what it means to support, play for and manage the world-class club of today.
MET Studio has formed a new joint venture company with Academy Studios in California called MASi. The new company is developing its first project, The BugWorld Experience: an insectarium, which is scheduled to open at the Albert Docks in Liverpool, UK, in June 2009.
MET Studio is proud to announce the royal opening of the Budongo Trail Chimpanzee exhibit by HRH The Princess Royal. MET Studio has worked in conjunction with The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Cooper Cromar Architects over a two-year period to design and build this world class Chimpanzee enclosure. The exhibition focuses on the conservation effort currently taking place in the Budongo forest, Uganda, by introducing visitors to the tireless efforts being made in the preservation of our closest animal cousins. The exhibit has already been billed as one of Europe’s leading zoological interpretational experiences.
“This is going to be setting an amazing new standard for British and European zoo interpretation.” (Stephen P Woollard, Education & Interpretation Manager, RZSS)
Helmand, The Soldiers' Story at London's National Army Museum, has been nominated for The Art Fund Prize. It is one of ten projects and institutions being considered for the £100,000 prize. The exhibition, based on real experience by soldiers in Helmand, was contributed to by over 150 soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade, telling the story of their tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2006.
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