O’Leary Prescott has concluded environment and interpretation work on Living Coasts, a coastal wildlife conservation centre in Torquay, part of a multi-million pound waterfront regeneration project for the Torbay area.
Living Coasts, which opens on 14 July and is operated by Paignton Zoo, is part-way between an aquarium and a zoo. It combines an outdoor area featuring coastal animals like penguins, fur seals and sea birds and an indoor ‘investigate’ zone with interactive installations.
O’Leary Prescott, which was awarded the £60 000 project following a three-way creative pitch in November 2001, has created signage and graphic panels for the attraction, as well as interactive elements. The consultancy worked alongside local architect Kay Elliott Architects and Paignton Zoo’s educational team.
O’Leary Prescott director Pat O’Leary describes the challenge as creating an environment in sympathy with the natural waterfront surroundings. This was achieved, she explains, by avoiding hi-tech computer installations in favour of more earthy, hands-on mechanical exhibits.
Waterfront motifs, such as a tide line graphic that runs throughout the indoor space carrying directions and information, were also employed.
‘We took our inspiration from the attraction’s surroundings – quays, harbours and the seashore,’ explains O’Leary.