Churchill War Rooms (2004-5)

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Churchill War Rooms Sound Design - vimeo

"Surveys of visitors to the Churchill Museum bear out the deep sense of engagement visitors feel after using the space, and the degree to which they want to repeat the visit. This is particularly telling because it demonstrates that Roger Mann and David Prior have created an environment that is complex, engaging and essentially comfortable for the visitor - a rare combination." Philip Hughes, Exhibition Design. Lawrence King Publishing 2010

Working for exhibition designers Casson Mann, this project involved the creation of an integrated soundscape in a large, acoustically difficult, open-plan space, in which hundreds of sound sources could co-exist, ensuring both intelligibility for individual sources and overall exhibition cohesion and identity. We drew heavily on our experience of working with spatialised sound and collaborated closely with acoustic consultants and software designers, integrating experimental technologies such as ultrasonic loudspeakers.

As well as coordinating the sound design, liminal were responsible for the sound production for the central interactive exhibit, which features a 15-channel spatialised soundscape designed in collaboration with US software designers Small Design Firm.

The exhibition’s curation relies heavily on recorded media. Its centrepiece is a twenty-metre interactive table on which visitors can scroll through files and folders associated with dates in Churchill's life. Significant events emerge from the folders, sometimes taking over the entire table, visually and sonically. With Small Design Firm, we created an interactive media environment to spatialise sounds with fluidity and precision, providing a context in which complex movement models could be explored in the hundreds of films and animations for which we provided sound tracks. Due to the museum’s scale, sound for the smaller exhibits was designed by other established media companies, all of whom working to our design specification.

As lead designers, Casson Mann have received numerous awards and nominations for the Churchill Museum including D&AD Yellow Pencil awards, Council of Europe Museum Prize, FX Award Best Museum, Visit London bronze award, AV magazine awards, Consumer Installation of the Year and the museum was a joint winner in the Design Week Awards. The museum was also shortlisted for the Gulbenkian Prize.

Reference: Hughes, Philip (2010) Exhibition Design. London: Laurence King. ISBN 978-1-85669-640-1pp64