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slideshow

Interactive Annual 19:
Environmental

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Interactive Exhibits

Launch Movie

“The beautiful craftsmanship of the content and the materials used in the physical build contributed equally to the immersive experience of this interactive installation.”
—Madison Wharton Marks

“This wonderfully inventive and beautifully designed installation invites participation through innovative physical-to-digital interaction.” —Scott Prindle


Overview: The fourteen interactive exhibits in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Seattle headquarters’ Visitor Center educate visitors about the issues the foundation is solving, explain the foundation’s philosophy, mission and strategies, and inspire visitors to connect with their own philanthropic potential. Through navigation that follows consistent interaction patterns, the journey begins with an introduction to the foundation’s origins and ends by inspiring people to realize their potential to make a positive impact on the world. Visitors contribute to an ever-expanding library of user-generated posters, photos and other media; the many thousands of images already created are displayed in interactive galleries in the same room used to create the content.

  • • The interactive exhibits took sixteen months to design and develop.
  • • Two of the exhibits feature dramatic, large-scale displays that showcase rich, 3-D graphics, the scale of which pushed the boundaries of what state-of-the-art graphics cards are capable of rendering.
  • • Each of the interactive experiences was developed in WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) and are networked and controlled centrally by a custom .NET content management system, allowing staff to update exhibits remotely.

Comments by Jason Brush

How was the design influenced by the venue? “The way in which the interactive exhibits seamlessly integrate with the Visitor Center’s architecture and its other exhibits, and amplify its overall narrative, is a core attribute of the design. For many of them, it was achieved by bespoke physical controlsÑa wooden globe that turns a large-scale digital globe, wooden rollers that scroll 3-D digital lists, metal-and-wood sliders that switch videos—that echo the Visitor Center’s distinctive architecture and blur the line between digital and physical design.”

What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “Our goal was for people to leave the center feeling optimistic and inspired, not by any one exhibit but by the holistic experience. One particular challenge was how to design the range of interfaces—each with its own interaction design challenges, its own content and its own context within the overall Visitor Center—to be consistent and part of a whole without becoming uniform. Each exhibit had to successfully serve standalone goals as well as contribute to the overall experience in the space; designing a visual language, interaction models and content that achieved this need was a unique challenge to solve.”

Credits

Colette Arimoto, senior art director
Michael Mills/Yoko Nakano, user experience designers
Jimmy Chen, creative director
Jason Brush, executive creative director
Marvin Varela, software engineer
Brooke Castro, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, producer
Alexandre Schmitt, executive producer
Bill Hermanns, project manager
Therese Littleton, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, curator
POSSIBLE (New York, NY), project design and development
Diane Andolsek, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, clients


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