In December 2021 we were approached by Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) to fulfil their brief of creating a children’s play area inside the public library with the aim of increasing children’s reading and learning with engagement to the space.
The Brief and Our Solution
The brief was quite specific and multifaceted which is a good thing but comes with the challenges of meeting those exact needs which is something we love at icatchers. Here are the briefs aims in full:
- Delivering a quality, contemporary children’s space that stimulates creativity and the explora-tion of the library
- Provide a sense of arrival with an iconic representation of the local area, visible from the en-trance
- Deliver a visual, tactile, exploratory and interactive experience using multipurpose shelving and seating design to encourage learning
- Support a dynamic space layout that makes use of colour and graphics to build a coherent vis-ual design
- Fostering a love of reading through engagement with the space – elements that delight and surprise, incorporating a balance between high interaction and calmer spaces for reading.
- Children’s space will include sensory and tactile elements that are inclusive of kids and carers or all abilities within the community
Part of our solution was to take inspiration from the local area that would be recognised upon enter-ing. We chose the local country markets and show grounds as inspiration as these tactile inclusive envi-ronments would meet all the aims of the library’s learning space.
These local areas already have kids’ play spaces so increasing the children’s immediate acceptance of the space. These areas have puppetry, animals and an almost circus-like atmosphere with a large tree as a focal point which is what we utilised here.
Challenges and Solutions
One of our biggest challenges was the main one, to make the area interesting, fun and inviting to cre-ate the engagement needed to actively learn via the library’s resources. Drawing children to books in today’s world is not easy but obviously, a high priority for the library as it promotes learning.
The budget was another challenge as the space was large, to overcome this we retained some ele-ments already in place and utilised an open plan feel so that the space can be used for children’s li-brary events. Installation was completed very quickly as we wanted to keep the library down-time to a minimum.
First of all, we worked on a presentation to showcase our idea to MBRC. This generally takes 7 – 10 days and then is often revised in finer detail from discussions with the client for another 3 to 4 days. We render the working drawings for construction and execution and obtain design approval during this period. Work started from December 2021 with construction beginning in January and installation was completed in February 2022. Not only was the project completed on-time but within budget of $55K.
Then, like most of our projects whatever their size, it is composed of 3 main group stages:
- Planning Group – Where account, planning and production managers review the strategic re-quirements of the client and its objectives as well as the exhibition centre and its objectives. The planning team considers scope, time, cost, production, procurement and risk, developing this into an initial plan.
- Creative Group – Account Manager, Project Manager and our Design Director will work to-gether to interpret the brief, discuss ideas and develop a design concept that meets function-al, aesthetic and branding objectives.
- Execution Group – This varies depending on the size of the project, but usually the Account Manager, Production Manager, Visual Communications Manager, IT/AV Technicians and Warehouse Manager meet to discuss the build process.
As nothing is outsourced we are able to have complete control over the project’s construction, dis-mantling, installation and all critical timelines from start to finish.
Beneficial Skills and Experience
Mark Willis (Accounts Manager and Director) has over 25 years of experience in the industry and has previously worked in London producing custom exhibition stands for large international clients includ-ing Microsoft Xbox, BP, Castrol, AMP, Boeing Australia, QUT and Tafe Queensland among others.
Other aspects that icatchers offered to the Caboolture Library were:
- In-house design capabilities, construction workshop, cabinet makers, sign shop and graphic designers as well as warehousing facilities across Australia.
- Full-time project managers on-site from build to opening of the exhibit. The client has the project manager’s mobile numbers for communication 24/7 during this period if required.
- Our method of working is based on a “partnership” that is mutually beneficial to both parties.
- We actively seek feedback and engagement that feeds into the ongoing development pro-cess. This means we can be agile by improving and innovating constantly around our client’s needs to ensure complete satisfaction.
As can be seen the outcome was amazing, with the MBRC expectations being surpassed, including our own. icatchers are always interested in community projects where even though the budget is usually lower, the satisfaction, plus its long life span gives great satisfaction knowing we are helping to serve the community. We have already received recommendations from this project and can add it as an-other impressive part of our portfolio.