Some design briefs are not as detailed as others, and some clients are not as specific as others. There is sometimes an absence of detail in the initial brief, and even when attempts are made to address this absence, the client’s replies to questions do not provide the optimal amount of information to the designer. This situation is quite common in the design world, and good designers are extremely adept at finding solutions to such complications.
When Pico was approached to conceptualise, plan and content-manage China’s first and only ‘intangible heritage museum’, we leapt at the opportunity. After a series of initial meetings, it was determined that there would not be much direction or detail provided by the client, and thus would have to design everything about the project from scratch. This was not a problem for Pico’s experts.
Starting with a blank sheet of paper, design teams began to create ‘a fantastic journey through China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage’, focusing on three main themes: Curiosity and Discovery, Passion and Love and Protection and Action. This journey would be made real through education, participation and interaction, bringing traditional skills and cultural elements to life.
Exhibits were divided into two categories: permanent and experimental displays. The permanent display, on the upper floor, zone focused on educating and informing visitors; while the experimental zone greeted visitors upon entering, and provided live demonstrations by traditional craftspeople, showing off their trades and skills, emphasising interaction and communication to enhance learning.
Visually, a colourful 6-colour ribbon pattern formed the colour scheme and was the basis of and signage throughout the building. Additionally, the centre needed to generate its own operating funds; so Pico set aside areas for small businesses to sell traditional handicrafts, teach visitors jewelry-making skills and sell food items.
Bringing the Centre to life was a textbook example of ‘outside-the-box’ thinking and an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ working environment.
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