The Millennium Dome was built as a major visitor attraction to celebrate the start of the third millennium and like so many other visitor attraction projects it ran into financial problems principally caused by relentless optimism on the part of the operating company. Forecast to get 6M visitors but requiring 12M to balance the budget it required significant external support. It had many detractors but upon questioning virtually all of these had never visited the site and it had a reputation as an expensive but enjoyable day out and was more popular than Alton Towers and the London Eye during 2000.
The interior of the Dome had a central show and 14 exhibit Zones themed as:
Who we are:
- Body, sponsored by Boots, supported by L’Oréal and Roche (Branson Coates Architecture)
- Mind, sponsored by BAE Systems and Marconi (Office of Zaha Hadid)
- Faith comprised 5 sections: History of Christianity, Making of Key Life Experiences, How Shall I live?, Night Rain (a contemplation area designed by James Turrell and Faith Festivals Calender (Eva Jiricna Architects with Jasper Jacobs Associates)
- Self Portrait, sponsored by Marks & Spencer (Caribiner with Lorenzo Apicella at Pentagram), sculpture design by Gerald Scarfe
What we do:
- Work, sponsored by Manpower Inc. (WORK)
- Learning, sponsored by Tesco (WORK)
- Rest (Richard Rogers Partnership)
- Play (Land Design Studio)
- Talk, sponsored by BT Group (Imagination Group)
- Money, sponsored by the City of London (Caribiner with Bob Baxter at Amalgam)
- Journey, sponsored by Ford Motor Company (Imagination Group)
Where we live:
- Shared Ground, was made from recycled card  sponsored by Camelot Group plc (WORK)
- Living Island (WORK)
- Home Planet, sponsored by British Airways and BAA plc (Park Avenue Productions)
(Source – Wikipedia)
Our involvement began with the technical planning of the Play Zone and expanded into the Money Zone before being asked by NMEC to take on the daily task of operating and managing all of the interactive exhibits under their control for the opening year.
Despite the fiscal problems the exhibits were a significant milestone in visitor experience and in particular we were proud to have been employed by Land Design to assist in curating and building the Play Zone.
The Play Zone was unique in that it had no sponsoring organisation and was devised as a space that interpreted the word ‘Play’ using new media art. Land Design were contracted to design and build the space and they in turn contracted Fraser Randall for project management and us for technical consultancy and management. Land turned to Ars Electronica for digital assistance and a whole visitor journey and movement system was devised that brought the visitor in from the inner loop walkway, gave them some preshow orientation and dropped them in at the top of the building onto a ramp that gave an overview of the exhibits before allowing visitors to experience unique digital play experiences. On their way out the visitors passed the reverse side of the orientation exhibits and realised that static objects had been brought to digital life on their reverse face by use of ‘peppers ghost’ screens.
Building the Play Zone
The curation and design of the Play Zone involved a number of visits all over the world to transfer the artist’s technologies and gain their confidence in our team to deliver their works.
Piano as Image Media
Tug Of War
Beyond the Page
Cats and Dogs