International Garden Cities Exhibition branding and installation

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Evolving a tired museum into an international destination.

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Visitor numbers to the museum significantly raised to over 400 per day, post launch.

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The Heritage Foundation’s Garden City Museum was a tired, uninspiring and poorly visited destination that failed to capture the public’s imagination nor the dynamism and innovation of the Garden City Movement that began in Letchworth. 

The existing museum housed temporary exhibitions and a permanent exhibition, though the latter had not been changed since it was installed in 1995. A further challenge within the client brief was to ensure that the new space had the flexibility for multi-functional uses, such as receptions, seminars and other events.

Bonfire won a three-way pitch to re-imagine the old museum into an exhibition that told the story of the global Garden City Movement.

The brand identity we created took its inspiration from Ebenezer Howard’s town master plan diagram he included in his famous book published in 1902. We then adapted the content supplied by The Heritage Foundation to ensure we could emphasise key points in the development of the Garden City Movement to new visitors as they journeyed through the exhibition. Working with our design and installation partners, we also oversaw the interior design and fit out, ensuring mood lighting and digital technology delivered a more cutting-edge and immersive visitor experience.

The old museum closed in March 2013 and re-opened as The International Garden Cities Exhibition on 9th October 2013. The launch event that Bonfire helped manage, and promote in the run-up to the opening weekend, was successful in attracting around 400 people each day. This was significantly more than the annual visitor numbers prior to closure.

As well as the modern, permanent exhibition that harnessed the power of digital and social media to allow visitors to interact at the Exhibition with students and others interested in the Garden City Movement in real time, we also took the old part of the former building and authentically re-created Barry Parker’s office, from where he worked as the sole consulting architect at Letchworth from 1906.

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