Digital Fireplaces

How do you tell a story, evoke an atmosphere and capture the spirit of a place whilst making the best use of space in a sensitive historic building?

If the room has an imposing fireplace that is otherwise unused, this can be the ideal spot to create that impact without intruding on the integrity of the rest of the space.

We have created digital fireplaces at Caerphilly and Conwy Castles – although there is no reason why this technique couldn’t be used in palaces, stately homes and other historic buildings too.

Interactive fire place exhibit at Conwy Castle

At Caerphilly, the digital fire adds a sense of warmth to the Great Hall, also using music and images to convey the sense of celebration that the hall would often see, and telling stories from the castle’s history.

The digital fireplace system can be installed easily – all that is needed is a power socket and a chimney. Our bespoke expansion mount system is designed to be installed in listed buildings with no permanent fixing required which means that this imaginative way of interpreting the spirit of place is an opportunity for any historic building.

Charity update: Lend With Care

Last year we ran a competition around our newsletter with £100 to the charity of choice to the winner. Our winner , Andrew Deathe at the National Waterfront Museum, asked us to put the money into Lend With Care, a microfinance provider that lends to individuals in poor communities around the world to help them develop sustainable ways to earn a living.

Lend with care

So far we have supported nine people in places as diverse as Equador, the Philippines, Pakistan and Cambodia, with business that range from farming to general stores and carpentry. When loans are repaid (and we have seen no defaults so far) we simply find another individual to support.

And on the subject of giving, we’d like to highlight the challenge that the team at Equinox Design are undertaking in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer. A team of 20 are aiming to raise £5,000 by completing the Ben Nevis Challenge. They’re doing rather well but still need some further support – you can find their Just Giving page here if you’d like to contribute.

New Project: Glen Finglas

We’re pleased to have won a new piece of work with The Woodland Trust on a new visitor centre at Glen Finglas in the Trossachs National Park, part of The Woodland Trust’s largest property and supports remaining ancient trees as well as a programme to restore degraded areas of woodland. It is also home to some iconic wildlife including red deer, golden eagles and black grouse so there will be plenty for an interactive exhibit to feature.

The site will not be staffed but will provide the visitor with an opportunity to shelter from the weather and to find out more about what the Great Trossachs, and Glen Finglas in particular, have to offer.

The multi-touch screen will play an important part in introducing visitors to the site and helping them to make the most of their visit. It will centre on the map of the forest, with Glen Finglas highlighted, showing points of interest, walking trails, cycles routes and great views.

Photo Credit: vw.splitscreen via Compfight cc

Is your interactive exhibit securely backed up?

Whenever we hand over our software to a client, we provide a copy on a USB stick with a manual that explains how to re-install the software should the need arise.

If you have an interactive exhibit but have not been provided with a back-up copy of the software, we’d strongly recommend that you make a copy, backing it up safely. A solid state hard drive need cost no more than £50-60 so it’s a cost effective investment that can prevent all kinds of problems, even the complete loss of your exhibit should the worst happen.

Hard drive

Our top tips for a contingency plan:

  1. Make sure you have a back-up of your software, either from your original developer or one you take yourself.
  2. Make sure it is kept safe, somewhere where it will not also be affected by any disaster that strikes your exhibit.
  3. Allocate responsibility for maintaining that back-up to a specific individual so that you always know where it is kept – and make sure that the details are passed on should that individual leave.