Delivering an enriched and inclusive visitor experience

Our client, Historic Royal Palaces, works closely and collaboratively with local communities to make their palaces more accessible and relevant for all visitors. Their core programmes and projects create opportunities for people to meaningfully engage with their spaces and stories, inspiring everyone to feel a sense of belonging at all six wonderful palaces. 

The new Clore Learning Centre, Kensington Palace, provides a light and spacious purpose-built education facility designed to meet the needs of local community school and interest groups. 

Following our successful design scheme for the Clore Learning Centre at Hillsborough Castle, ALL Creative was commissioned to develop a themed interpretation scheme for the new centre that would deliver an enriched experience for all users and visitors to the space.  

Challenges

+ History, as we know, can often be distorted and inaccurately portrayed through various forms of media. We were acutely aware of the diverse cultures that pass through the palace doors, making it paramount to present a balanced and respectful narrative. 

+ The client wanted to ensure we considered the needs of all audiences – including visitors with additional physical, learning, sensory, neuro-diverse and special educational needs.

+ To ensure content was inclusive and serviced the key audiences; predominately community groups and schools. Estimating up to 12,000 student visits each year, we wanted to remove existing barriers and develop artwork that reinforced Kensington’s reputation as a centre for best practice in heritage learning.


Strategic response 

Through a series of collaborative workshops, we identified the creative theme ‘Curious Journeys.’ This underpinned the global and local journeys that people and objects of the palace had taken through history to the present day and provided a platform to help tell some of the more challenging stories of our past, with sensitivity and relevance for audiences today.

 

Creative solution 

Our client, Historic Royal Palaces, wanted to commission interpretation elements designed to enhance the experience of being in the building while creating strong connections to the Palace. These were to take the form of illustrations integrated into the courtyard walls, into cupboard doors, intriguing but fun plinth displays and welcome signage.  

Overall, the ‘Curious Journeys’ theme looked at the journeys people and objects took to Kensington Palace. It is the story of people and movement, journeying through space and time as well as the journey we go through when we learn something new – the journey of the mind.   

We researched stories with a sensitivity in mind to those who may be viewing the illustrations with a lived or family experience of these issues. With the content and the illustration, we wanted visitors to see themselves and their histories reflected in the artwork in as sensitive way as possible.   

All visitors arriving at the centre are greeted by two highly visual sculptures along with a bold illustrated triptych feature wall display in the entrance courtyard. The sculptures play a dual role in helping communicate the key interpretive themes as well as creating a memorable landmark for learning group meeting points. 

 

The illustrator for the triptych, Mehrdokht Amini, was born in Iran and now lives in the UK. Simultaneously bringing her own personal story to the project, her illustration style created a collage to provide a rich and detailed layering of stories. Working under the joint artistic direction of HRP and ALL Creative, Mehrdokht created three highly coloured feature illustrations combining historic and contemporary images of people, objects, animals, and buildings with geographical references to the local area, London, and the world. Some of the more unexpected references such as The Rolling Stones, Beyoncé and Peppa Pig, have certainly caught visitors’ attention and imagination. 

The new scheme incorporates a range of physical signs from elaborate entrance displays to wayfinding and destination signs. A key objective of our design approach was to ensure that all sign solutions, regardless of scale or prominence worked seamlessly together. This required detailed design and project management to ensure all work undertaken by specialist production suppliers was effectively coordinated. Technical drawings and design specifications were reviewed in close collaboration with the client to achieve a flawless execution of the new displays. 

 

Our design for the external welcome sign was inspired by the ‘Anemoscope’ which can be found in the King’s Gallery at Kensington Palace. The feature display sign combines playful visual references to exotic shells, birds, fruit and animals, framed with gilded cardinal details and compass inspired lettering. The final sign was cast in bronze and finished with gilded details to enhance the visual impact for visitors, while being appropriate to the sensitive location in Kensington Gardens. 

The creative theme and illustration style was extended into the interior through wall panels and welcome signage. 

Need help with full programme strategy work and creative development?  

Contact us: beverley@allcreativebranding.com – we would love to chat. 

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