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Category Finalist


Cool Planet Experience


DMW Creative

P. Whittaker, R. Molenaar & H. Dowling-Wade



Exhibition Design

Structures and Spaces


Peter Whittaker, Rob Molenaar and Heather Dowling-Wade (Lead Designers)

Design Challenge and Design Ideas

The key challenge behind CPE was to design an experience that makes the global issue of climate change relevant at a personal level for our visitors, and as a result inspire them to take action. We recoiled from stats and technical jargon that would bamboozle our visitors. Instead, we adopted an approach that delivered a simple yet compelling narrative, bringing our visitors on a journey through the challenges and opportunities that climate change presents. Problem solving, independent thought and the ability to listen and empathise are key components of the interactive elements of our design.

Located in a listed, ex-laundry building attached to Powerscourt House, space and visitor throughput presented a serious design challenge. However, we turned this on its head and developed a coherent narrative journey through a series of connected spaces over two levels.

How the brief was fulfilled

To resolve these challenges, we set about a mission to create “Agents of Change”.

In order to differentiate the experience from a science centre or planetarium-style attraction, it was important that the experience was bespoke and personalised for each visitor. The narrative journey focuses on a series of questions:

o What is climate change?
o Why is it happening?
o What does it mean to me?
o What can I do?

Over the course of 60 minutes, visitors discover the answer to these questions through a variety of interactive experiences. All visitors start as “Agents in Training”. By the time they complete their visit they have become “Agents of Change” with a mission to bring about change and inspire others to join them on their journey. We equip them with the “pester power” needed to get others involved. This somewhat-gamified, yet strong call to action resonates greatly with our target audience.

RFID wristbands are used throughout to individualise the experience. A carbon calculator quiz at the start shows their carbon footprint as trees rather than tonnes of carbon. The Science Room shows their footprints compared to the Irish and world averages. In Race to 2050 – a 3D-printed, projection-mapped 6x2m model city – visitors tag on with their wristbands and play a series of games in a joint race to change the fate of a dystopian future city. In ‘The F Word’, the group works together to win a food quiz, seeing the huge impact Ireland’s agriculture sector has on our greenhouse gas emissions. In Brighter Futures, the last stage of the journey, visitors learn they have the power to make a real difference. Based on their earlier quiz answers, they’re prompted to make customised pledges of varying levels, to make a change in their everyday lives. Using their wristband’s unique Agent of Change ID, visitors can log in post-visit to update CPE on their progress and upgrade their pledges. This has allowed us to personalise the experience for each visitor as well as maintaining a post-visit relationship with our Agents.

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