When Tagbin, a Gurugram-based design agency, was tasked with designing the newly opened PM Museum. Prime Minister’s MuseumThe team went through “multiple rounds of meetings” to understand the museum’s story, and what it was they were trying to achieve in terms of engagement with the youth and the overall energy of the place.
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It would not be wrong to say so Museums If not completely obsolete today, it has become a niche. However, the team behind the Prime Minister’s Museum inaugurated the event Prime Minister Narendra Modi On April 14, 2022 – Immersive Digital Technology was tasked with bringing together a blend of history and art to make it an informative experience for people seeking to learn more about the lives of all the prime ministers India has ever had.
Tagbin’s chief executive officer and museum’s design and technology consultant, Saurabh Bhaik, recently interacted. indianexpress.comAnd talked more about the scope of technology, how Museums Crowds can still be drawn, the challenges faced in designing the museum and the whole come-and-go process.
What happened to the concept of state-of-the-art display in the museum?
The first thing we did was study and understand the visitor profile. We have found the right medium through which we can disseminate information in the most interesting way. We found that people’s attention is very low. They stay away from reading big lessons. Visitors, mostly young people, are interested in consuming content through interactive and engaging ways.
Several rounds of workshops and meetings were organized with various stakeholders. We started with content marketing which went to various archives for sourcing and collecting relevant content. Then we worked on the flow of visitors and planned the circulation of visitors. Once in that space, we worked on the area plan and designed the spaces.
As visitors walk along to pick up information on the trip, we make sure they are able to relax from the material at regular intervals. To break the display monotony, we brought the element of surprise where each gallery was designed differently to give it its own unique look. Once the space was designed, we worked on the scripts for the material production, the layout drawings for the construction part and the framed specifications for the technology fittings.
Have you been briefed and given ideas? What was the initial thinking?
What we are trying to show is what the structure of the Prime Minister’s Gallery should look like, what should be the space reserved for each Prime Minister. The key events of their tenure and the overall message we want to convey.
We also thought about how to make galleries relevant without making them controversial. This was done by striking the right balance between materials and designing venues based on the achievements and contributions of each Prime Minister not only during his tenure but also for the nation. All of these were defined in the initial brief.
What is so special about this museum that no one else has seen?
The museum is visitor-centered, attractive and interactive. Here, visitors become a part of the museum and participate. The museum displays authentic material and there is no entertainment. It is a perfect combination of history, rich materials, art and technology, bringing a complete package of visitor experience never seen before.
It goes beyond borders, welcoming everyone. We’ve developed the most advanced audio guide system to assist as a tour guide. It is currently in two languages and will expand to 21 Indian languages and 6 international languages. Visitors receive headsets and earphones in the kit. As they walk, this multilingual audio guide – automatic sync with displays for an immersive audiovisual experience – helps navigate through the museum. Visitors can customize their trips according to their time and convenience.
Museums are fast becoming a place, and as such, what role can technology play, and what do you predict about the future of museums in India?
Interactive technologies can make these places interesting. By digitizing them, it opens up a whole new landscape of content updating from time to time. In general, if the museum is designed in a traditional way with stable display and graphical materials, it may be outdated. In digital museums, we can develop it.
Also, with new-age technologies, virtual museums are making a place in the museum industry. Physical museums have a location-based disadvantage. They grow in a special place and not everyone is able to travel to these places. Virtual museum tours enable tourists to visit and explore heritage, art and culture from anywhere. We also believe that gamification, such as treasure hunts, quizzes and user engagement, plays a big role in generating interest.
What were the biggest challenges you and your team faced while working for the museum?
One of the challenges was the space breakup between different prime ministers. Since we were not involved in the construction planning phase, we were given a pre-designed building. We had to retrieve the story and the material chronologically.
Also, some technical installations were taking place for the first time. For example, the 3-foot-tall national emblem that can be seen correctly at the reception, we did a lot of tests before correcting it. It works in a magnetic field and the entire weight of the installation should be centered on the center. After a few remakes, we used 3D printing of the structure with a stone finish to complete the look.
Another challenge was to make the 1,200 lamps a waving flag and make them strong.
Also, looking at the scale of the project, we have deployed a unique strategy to get specialized vendors on board for each job. As we are the project management consultants of the project, the pressure of coordination between them increased.
The traditional practice is to deploy a single vendor and the hired company is responsible for the work and deliverables. We believe that a single company cannot set up the diverse skills needed to build a world-class museum. In the end, the results came out the best.
How did Tagbin get on board for the project?
Construction was already planned and work had begun. We got design, technology and project management through tender process. We partnered with The Hub, a UK-based firm. Based on the overall financial and technical scores, we were declared successful bidders and the project was honored.
When did you start work, and which aspects were particularly important to you?
We received the project in March 2020. The first six months were inactive due to the Kovid wave. Some aspects of the museum’s overall vision and mission, such as the space plan and the initial direction of how to approach each gallery, were the most important, as it set the basis and basic principles on which we built the museum.
How can technological developments like Levitation, Robotics, Hologram, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Multi-Touch, Multimedia, Interactive Kiosk, etc. give visitors an immersive experience?
We’ve used techniques like Levitation and Kinetic to create art installations that give visitors a ‘wow’ feel when they start at the entrance. Interactive display technologies such as multi-touch, interactive kiosks, gesture-enabled displays are established to disseminate information in the most interesting ways.
New age technologies such as AR, VR and robotics are used to enhance human interaction and engagement. Through these technically-capable experimental exhibitions, visitors become part of the museum and learn by doing. It is a great way to educate young people, where they are able to absorb and retain content in interesting ways.
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