M Worldwide works on Welsh historic attractions

M Worldwide is designing a series of retail and visitor centres for the Welsh Government’s historic environment service Cadw, which will first be trialled at World Heritage Site Conwy Castle.

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The consultancy came through a tender process in April to win the contract in May, partly on a creative proposal, and is now looking at  ‘a range of materials and solutions which can be adapted sympathetically to each space,’ according to consultancy joint managing director David Martin.

A huge variation in room size and shape – ‘particularly vaulted, high or low ceilings,’ will need to be considered ‘and the fact that nothing can be attached to the walls,’ says Martin. Design solutions, (pictured) are still being refined and developed.

The spaces which will sell ‘everything from key rings to clothing’ need to introduce the building on narrative wall graphics, offer a ticketing service and consider customer flow and wayfinding, Martin adds. 

Interpreting the environment of the building and its locale, Welsh oak, copper and slate will be either used or referenced, ‘subtly though, without making it a theme park’ says Martin.

There will also be ‘an echo of domestic language’ used across the Cadw properties as many of them are period houses rather then castles.

‘A lot of these places are furnished with lose items and we’ve pursued that with tabletype fixtures and furniture,’ says Martin.

The Conwy Castle retail and visitor services space is due to open in Easter 2012.

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