Land Design helps stoke up the Flying Scotsman story

Land Design Studio has created a permanent exhibition at the National Railway Museum in York, to chronicle the history of the Flying Scotsman.

Opening today, the £700 000 project is the culmination of 12 months’ work by the design consultancy, and features exhibition graphics by Thomas Matthews and lighting by Atkinson Lighting Design.

The original Flying Scotsman locomotive will eventually be the centrepiece of the exhibition. It is currently being rebuilt in the museum workshop – a process that visitors will be able to observe. At the time of opening, the locomotive on display will be the Stirling Single.

According to Land Design Studio project designer Robin Clark, the exhibition tells the story of the Flying Scotsman through the voices of the people involved with its history – designers, owners and admirers, as well as staff and passengers.

A key feature of the exhibition is a four-screen video installation by Studio Simple. Shot out of the window of a travelling train, the installation shows the entire five-hour journey of the Flying Scotsman condensed into 45 minutes. ‘The video is constantly changing, a complete panorama [of the journey],’ says Clark. ‘It’s a beautiful art-style piece.’

Land Design Studio was appointed to the project after a three-way pitch between undisclosed competitors.

Meanwhile, Coventry Transport Museum unveils a £6.9m redevelopment next week, featuring three new galleries, an education suite and archive and library resource centre that bring its total size to 13 000m2.

With the exception of the Motorcycle Gallery, which was created by RFA Designers, exhibition design was completed in-house. This includes the refurbished Landmarques Gallery, which recreates a series of Coventry street scenes, from 1868 to reconstruction during the post-World War II era.

According to Coventry Transport Museum development officer Lucy Rumbel, the gallery has ‘a strong audio-visual component to bring the sights, sounds and smells of the streets to life’.

RFA Design was appointed to the £140 000 Motorcycle Gallery project in August last year, following a three-way pitch against undisclosed groups. The design and build was completed in five months and the gallery opens to the public on 14 April.

RFA design creative director Richard Fowler says the group was briefed to ensure the gallery was ‘object led, with as many motorcycles on display as possible’, and with limited interpretation.

‘The difficulty with densely-displayed objects in a small space is maintaining an interesting gallery,’ says Fowler. ‘We focused on circulation, layout and making sure there are good vistas as you come in, nicely composed views and interesting focal points throughout the space.’

A central turntable adds movement and the group has also employed video footage and audio to ‘add life’ to the space. ‘Adding movement and dynamism within transport museums is difficult. It could be quite a dull space, but relating imagery to the objects themselves – for example a TT Racer is offset by images of TT racing in the 1920s – brings it to life,’ adds Fowler.

Further plans at the museum include a gallery of die-cast models and a new café, due to open later this year.

Transport Museum Projects:

• £700 000 Land Design Studio-designed Flying Scotsman exhibition opens National Railway Museum in York today

• Coventry Transport Museum launches three new galleries, two designed in-house and one by RFA Design

• London Transport Museum reopens in 2007, with exhibition design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, café and shop by Lumsden Design Partnership and brand identity by The Core

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