Event Communications is creating an £11m Titanic-themed visitor attraction in Belfast, where the ill-fated ship was built. The exhibition design consultancy will soon be assembling a team of audiovisual, lighting and interactive designers to work on the project.
Incorporating rides and the extensive use of audio-visual technology, the Titanic/ Maritime Heritage Signature Project exhibition will occupy four floors of the planned fivestorey £97m Eric Kuhne & Associates-designed landmark building that is to be set in the heart of the Titanic Quarter, a regenerative 81ha docklands development.
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board and other stakeholders appoin ted Event Communications in 2004, following a competitive creative pitch. Event Communications chief executive James Alexander describes the attraction as ‘a celebration of Belfast in the round, telling the story of its industrial heritage and segueing into the Titanic story’.
The visitor journey will begin in a gallery exploring Belfast’s history as an industrial city. Visitors will then be taken up two levels on a scissor lift, passing ‘a huge propeller or hull’ to what Alexander describes as ‘the first “wow” experience’ – a six-minute audio-visual ‘ride’ exploring the building of the Titanic.
The experience will culmin ate in the ‘flying theatre’ (concept pictured). Costing more than £1m to create, and only the third of its kind in the world, this features moving seats that suspend their inhabitants over a huge cinema screen. A wind machine will help to take visitors on a multi-sensory journey. ‘There is a lot of technology involved in the attraction, so we are having to put a team of specialists together to help us realise it’, says Alexander.
Event Communications will undertake detailed designs next year, before the attraction opens in 2012, exactly 100 years after the ship left Belfast in April 1912.
‘After the Titanic sank, there was great shame on Belfast, as some blamed the shipyard for the tragedy,’ says Alexander.
‘But following the wreck’s discovery in 1987 it was found that the ship went down through no fault of Belfast’s.
Not enough has been done to tell the world that this is where the Titanic was born, a fact Belfast should be proud of.’