A place-making anchor for UK Parliament
To mark the much-anticipated re-opening of the iconic tower, this new experience was designed to open London's famous 'Big Ben' to a wider public than ever before.
We worked with the UK Parliament to transform the visitor experience of the tower by connecting audiences to the story of its history and the wider Parliament. It represents an aspiration to interest more people in the UK’s democratic history and future, whilst ensuring this guided tour was state-of-the-art, on par with similarly distinguished London attractions.
A new kind of promenade performance
Our content and design teams worked closely with the client team, archivists and tour guides to create a guided exhibition experience that integrates the mechanisms of promenade performance. The Elizabeth Tower tour is a complex multi-dimensional challenge that combines the creation of a landmark visitor attraction in a sensitively restored historic building. Open to domestic and international visitors, this hybrid experience offers a visually augmented guided exhibition using new multimedia practices to bring familiar and untold stories of the building to life for a new generation of visitors. Using archival material, artefacts and models, we offer behind-the-scenes insights into the challenges of building and maintaining the structure, while illuminating its role as a national symbol of resilience for the past 100 years.
Illuminated through storytelling
Working within the tight regulatory constraints of being a Grade 1 listed building and operating in the small footprints of the spaces available, we developed installations that complement the aesthetic and materiality of the building, while making it relevant to its contemporary setting.
Our interpretation and design was developed in response to the ambitious reach of this project. It needed to resonate with people from all over the world. Working with archivists, we broadened its historical narrative, identified rarely shared collections for display; commissioned sample masonry and models of the building – supported by image-led storytelling, tactile props and audio soundscapes to ensure that there is something for everyone, whilst offering a wholly new experience.
The shape of the visitor experience builds anticipation through its rich storytelling as visitors ascend the tower, culminating in a series of experiences where the clock and bells take centre stage. Three storytelling spaces illuminate different aspects of the tower’s history, situating Elizabeth Tower in its wider context as a piece of historical architecture, an iconic clock-tower and a symbol of London and the UK, recurrent in popular culture.
Each touchpoint is designed to tell stories about the history of the tower that is meaningful to a wide range of audiences, aiming to generate a wider investment from visitors beyond the epic views of London and the bell’s symbolic chime.
New Venture Models
Plowden & Smith