There are several cool job titles found in British history and Constable of the Tower of London is right up there. The Duke of Wellington took the office on route to becoming Prime Minister and made several major innovations including draining the moat, closing the Royal Menagerie and shutting down the taverns within its walls. All of which makes him sound like a prize spoilsport, but in fact after his tenure the Tower was both better-equipped for its military purposes and drawing more visitors than ever.
When Historic Royal Palaces – the body that looks after the Tower – wanted to tell the story of his time in charge, they turned to Real Studios and LucienneRoberts+ who commissioned animator Paul Plowman and sound designer Dominic Robson to work with them creating an audio visual installation. Inspired by the space’s previous use as a munitions store, the team designed a piece that resembles a stack of crates with 18 synchronised screens creating an immersive visitor experience.
Lucienne told us: “It’s conceived to feel like a mechanical time machine, counters fast forward and whizz back, clock hands rotate at speed, images jerkily appear and disappear and infographics animate to tell different aspects of each story. Short captions on one monitor are supported by a colourful plan and set of icons on others. Each story begins with an image wipe and accompanying sound – orange, red and yellow flames crackle and dart around the boxes, fluorescent green panes of glass shatter and fall, an electric blue portcullis clanks as it descends.”
“Bearing in mind the huge visitor numbers (just short of three million last year) alongside their mix in ages, nationalities and expectant levels of engagement, we placed a great deal of emphasis on developing a layered narrative, rich with multiple meanings that can be understood by English-speaking and non-English speaking audiences alike. Our objective was to create interpretation that is engaging, accessible, informative and entertaining for visitors who want to learn and linger alongside those who simply want to take in a few relevant facts.”
About the Author
Rob joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in July 2011 before becoming Editor-in-Chief and working across all editorial projects including itsnicethat.com, Printed Pages, Here and Nicer Tuesdays. Rob left It’s Nice That in June 2015.