the dark side strikes back

So, as we have blogged about before, our friends in the marketing world often create experiences that inspire us here at the studio. At times these great ideas are even for museums. So this week we thought we would share three projects we found inspirational.

The first is an experience that can bring strangers together for conversation. Meet the Coffee Connector from the Economic Development Board of Singapore.




As you can see in the video, this requires two people to make cups of coffee. The interaction that leads to actually getting a cup of coffee puts users in a position to provide both a name and a subject to talk about. While it certainly affirms our studio’s belief that coffee is the center of the universe in the morning (martinis do that in evening – look for the Martini Connector next), this is a great model to potentially explore for a museum setting. It seems intriguing to create an activity where the payoff is not about the subject per se but instead is about people talking about the subject.

The second is the fun and evocative campaign for the Paris Zoological Park by Ubi Bene,







The idea of three-dimensional “artifacts” or leave-behinds is very interesting… and certainly this is an idea that could be reused for different subjects. Also, it allows for some great photo opportunities that extend the zoo’s impact.

Finally, here’s something about a subject we here in study have worked on quite a bit. Take a look at how food and cooking can be transformed in a film. Film by Blink Productions and Wieden + Kennedy London




This just goes to show that many subjects could be made more interesting and more engaging when humor and theatrics are applied in ways that don’t detract or distract from the subject. Certainly a treatment like this might be a great way to introduce people to a subject before diving into more substantial content. This film did a wonderful job setting a mood.


What creative marketing and communications examples have you seen lately? How might those ideas help us create more memorable and engaging experiences for visitors?

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Your world upside down

Ames Rooms” are found in many children’s museums and science centers. These spaces are physically distorted to create an optical illusion that makes people appear as giants on one side of the room or incredibly small on the other side of the room.

Well, while not an optical illusion but certainly as much fun, this tourist attraction at the VVT’s All-Russia Exhibition Center in Moscow piqued our interest and made us smile.










































The experience is powerful and fun – and totally changes your perspective. Literally turning your world upside down is a great way to get people to observe and think differently.

As one begins to develop and design an exhibition, a strong design and development step is to do what this house does: take the subject and turn it on its head.

This way of thinking could suggest new and innovative ways to explore and present any subject.

Have you seen other “upside-down” worlds? What kinds of experiences have turned your world on its head?

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special time

It’s that special time of the year, with holidays, family, and reflections back over the past year and looking forward to the next. As a celebration, we invite you to enjoy these three videos, each of which in its own way examines a special time, from beautiful to funny. Happy Holidays to all.

Beautiful – Into the Atmosphere by Michael Shainblu.  This is a tribute to California that took a whole year to make.




Evocative – Midday Traffic Time Collapsed by Cy Kuckenbaker.  A photographer whose work we’ve discussed before shows us the changing “color palette” of traffic over four minutes in San Diego.



Humor – A commercial for Haynes food products by Cinesite  Sometimes you can have really bad timing.



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creating a smile with scale

To combat the winter blahs this week our inspiration takes us back to playing with scale but with a little levity.  As we have mentioned before,  playing with scale is both an artist’s as well as a designer’s invaluable tool. While used as a sense of awe, its role in creating humor and fun – a moment of levity in a serious world or serious museum “environment” – should perhaps be explored more often. Here are two favorites that have passed by our desk this week.
The first is the great installation called “Bad Dog” (we need to admit that ALCHEMY studio has two office Labradors).

Yes, that’s yellow paint that get sprayed on the museum wall. Check out the public’ reaction through this local tv story!

This work, done by Richard Jackson, is part of an exhibition called “Ain’t Painting A Pain” at the Orange County Museum of Art, which provides a retrospective of the Los Angeles artist’s work.

The second is the piece “Calamidad Cósmica” by the artist Luciana Rondolini.


These giant popsicles are intended to have viewers reflect on the process of time elapsing. Of course, they also evoke the fun and memories that such items have played in one’s life. Surely an exhibit such as this would be great fun in a children’s museum or as a surprise encounter in an outside gallery.

Be sure to send us your fun encounters with scale and look for some upcoming inspirations sparked by ideas about time.

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