Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery visit

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A few of the initial design prototypes

13 Jul 17

Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery is a sanctuary; a place for ill or injured native animals to rehabilitate in a stress-free and purpose-built environment. It will also be an educational site for national and international visitors to learn more about our native wildlife.

Built in Palmerston North’s Victoria Esplanade, specially designed recovery aviaries, a support facility for vet care, and an educational interpretive centre will enable conservation discussions through world-class rehabilitation practice by Massey University’s Wildbase veterinary wildlife specialists.

Open Lab has been tasked with the interpretive design and narrative within the Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery centre. We are bringing together consulting academics, graduates and undergraduates to work alongside Open Lab to deliver the digital, spatial, graphic, interactive and physical designs for the space.

Last month, Open Lab’s Principal Designer, Michael Kelly, Studio Manager, Jennah Rasmussen, and our academic advisor for the Wildbase Recovery project, Tanya Marriott, visited Hughes Joinery in Palmerston North to see how the initial design prototypes were shaping up. Our team was joined by Wildbase Recovery project collaborators, including creative writer, Nina Mercer, audio-visual specialist, Vaughan Armstrong, and Grant MacCaskie from Capture signs. Cliff Hughes took us through his workshop and we all got to work inspecting the prospective modular furniture for the centre.

There was a lot of positive commentaries as everyone moved around the furniture. With their difference in height, Michael and Jennah were used for to provide scale reference, and sketchbooks were out for taking detailed notes of any required changes to the prototypes. With the help of power tools, some adjustments were made on the spot.  

The modular furniture will house many of Wildbase Recovery's key messages, including the importance of being guardians and stewards of our unique wildlife. These messages are positioned on the furniture itself using engaging graphics, with the furniture also containing digital and physical interactive components. There will be experience stations at tables, as well as horizontal and vertical interactive modules.

The cross-discipline and academic involvement is beginning to mould an exciting project outcome. It is a privilege to be part of creating a space for young New Zealanders to understand and explore the benefits in keeping our native species safe.

If you would like to stay updated on the Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery then show them some love via their Facebook or Twitter pages.

Michael Kelly,
Principal Designer.