In our last in the series of business blog posts, we interviewed Ewan McCarthy, Creative Director from Bright. Bright has worked with us for a number of years and took on the role of overall designer and project manager for the tour development of the Sense of Scotland and Blender’s Sample Room.
When we spoke to Ewan he commented; “We have worked for The Scotch Whisky Experience for many years and every project challenges us to bring something fresh to the party. We were delighted that the end result produced a new experience that is entertaining, surprising, and informative. We were particularly pleased that the digital elements of the experience still allowed the guides to play an integral part in the delivering the story.”
Q1: The Blender’s Sample Room design was inspired by one of the first Victorian whisky sample rooms from 1870. From where did you pull your resources from to find an accurate representation of how an 1870s sample room would have looked?
We had some excellent historical reference photography of both sample rooms and the original licensed grocers to draw inspiration from, however we were very keen that the room should feel unique to SWE rather than a direct copy.
The design was also driven in many respects by the practicalities of delivering the visitor experience.
Q2: Both The Sense of Scotland and Blender’s Sample Room include a huge amount of technology which must have made it a challenging task when integrating all the hardware and services to look aesthetically pleasing. What was the biggest challenge you overcame when tasked with this design?
The project was very ambitious in terms of the technology particularly given that it is a historic building and space is limited and finite. The other major challenge was continuing to offer all elements of the experience in multiple languages. The content was also very challenging to create given it is a complicated story to tell and has to be delivered consistently combining live presentation and digital content.
“Technology and Tradition – A perfect blend
Instead of walking through one exhibit after another either reading the plaques yourself or listening to a tour guide, this tour combines tour guides and technology to create an interesting and engaging presentation.”
Tripadvisor comment, October 2017
Q3: With accessibility of visitors in mind, how did you ensure the design of both spaces worked well in accommodating as many visitors as possible with varying needs so that all could enjoy the whisky tour?
The space is very limited so it required very careful planning to ensure the flow of visitors through the space and between the rooms was as smooth as possible. The timing of the tours is back to back so it was critical that the delivery of the experience and routing did not cause any delays.
“The tour guide was very attentive, making me a priority when entering different rooms throughout the tour and ensuring I could see at all times. All staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Definitely 5 stars!”
Q4: What were you most proud of in the project delivery?
We were very proud to be involved in a project that delivered first and foremost an outstanding experience for visitors. The whole team worked very hard to overcome many challenges both technically and from an interior design perspective to meet all the requirements of the client.
Q5: Did you learn anything new from the experience?
Whilst we have undertaken projects with a high level of AV content before, the project introduced us to new technologies and ways of developing digital content that proved to be very successful in communicating abstract ideas around the story of whisky production.