14. May 2018
DIVA, Antwerp Home of Diamonds, has now opened its doors to the public. Located in the heart of Antwerp’s historic city centre, a precious stone’s throw from the neighbourhood where diamond merchants, goldsmiths and silversmiths have been plying their trades and perfecting their craft since the sixteenth century, this new museum tells the story of the world’s most desirable minerals. Centre Screen were responsible for the AV and interactive content design. Producer Dave Thompson takes us on a tour of this new visitor attraction.
‘DIVA takes the visitor on an engaging exploration of the history of diamonds and precious metals. The museum is divided into six rooms, each with a distinct feel and approach.
To illustrate this story, DIVA has drawn on the collections of former diamond and silver museums, and on the numerous lenders now working with the museum. At DIVA, content meets museum experience. A lot of research work in archives and libraries was done by the curator of DIVA, Romy Cockx. Centre Screen supported where they could and were asked to.
‘The first room, the Wunderkammer or Room of Wonder, tells of European collectors and how they curated collections of incredible objects, objets d’arts and objets de curiosité, gathered from round the globe as sea travel took European vessels further and further away from home. The stories of these exquisite objects are told with 11 interactive screens that engage visitors and provide details and context, while a 65” interactive multi-touch map brings the locations of Wunderkammers in historic Antwerp to life. In this room, visitors get their first opportunity to hear audio plays created by noted scriptwriter Frank van Laeke. These plays weave a narrative across the museum, bringing key characters and objects to life, and giving the visitor the impression of eavesdropping on history.
‘The second room, the Atelier or Workshop, explores the craft and artistry needed to create such exquisite objects, focusing on the skills and tools used. Two separate interactives demonstrate the history and processes of diamond-cutting and silversmithing, while visitors sit at stylised workbenches.
‘An animated multimedia globe is the striking focal and talking point of the third room, called Handel or Trade. Created using PufferSphere® technology, the 1.2 metre globe is accompanied with interactive screens. Visitors explore the trade routes that brought diamonds to Antwerp through surrounding interactive displays that include more colourful audio plays.
‘Visitors get a chance to relax in style in the fourth room, the Eetkammer or Dining Room, sitting at a lavish dining table and learning about the evolution of cutlery, plates and table manners while conversational audio snippets and a surrounding photographic trompe l’oeil immerses them in old Antwerp.
‘Objects of great value always attract magpies. For the fifth room, the Kluis or Vault, visitors step into the museum’s strong room to learn about diamond crime and security. Visitors are invited to engage in interactive detective work, following clues found in deposit boxes, as films and animations give an insight into theft, counterfeiting and forgery, and the measures taken to combat them.
‘Finally, climatically, the visitors enter the sixth room, the Boudoir. Here the link between diamonds, desire and romance are explored, both seriously and with tongue in cheek. Screens explore the ideas and objects associated with the Diva, while an interactive allows visitors to create images of themselves wearing fabulous jewellery, and encourages them to share these images on social media.
‘We’re delighted that Bruns asked us to join the project. It’s been terrific to work on, and a testament to the collaborative team work and dedication of DIVA, Frank van Laeke, Carla Janssen Höfelt, Bruns, CREATE, Mario de Munck and Centre Screen. We had a relatively short amount of time for a project of this detail, so pressure was high, but we all came through and created something to be proud of. From a Centre Screen perspective, I’m particularly proud of the way the audio works, both guiding and immersing the visitor in the experience. Not just an audio guide, it contains great little dramas as Frank’s creations tell the stories of key characters and objects, and our audio programmes in Handel and Kluis add further insight and context. And from a personal point of view, I’m delighted with the trompe l’oeil effect my large format photographic prints have in the dining room.’
DIVA Antwerp is open to the public now, welcoming visitors six days a week, closing only on Wednesdays. For details, visit http://www.divaantwerp.be/en
30. April 2018
Change of address announcement. After over 25 years in our Castlefield home, Centre Screen are moving. We’ve bagged a new space in The Bonded Warehouse, @OldGranadaMCR, an exciting development that’s regenerating Manchester’s iconic Granada Studios and Bonded Warehouse into a digital and creative industry hub.
Established in 1986, Centre Screen moved into Eastgate, Castlefield, in 1992. A stone’s throw from the Haçienda, round the corner from Mick Hucknall’s bar and Tony Wilson’s flat, and across the street from Stock, Aitken & Waterman’s Hit Factory, the former warehouse was the ideal location for an emerging & energetic Mancunian media company. Current Company Directors Lisa O’Neill and Hayley Walsh began their Centre Screen careers in here in 2003 and 2005 respectively.
“We’ve a lot of history here, both in the office itself and in the surrounding area’s lively pubs and bars”, laughed Lisa and Hayley. “But we’re genuinely excited about what’s happening in the Old Granada Studios, about the potential opportunities and benefits we’ll enjoy in the heart of this new development, and we’re sure it will make an ideal home for the coming years – alongside our Second Home in Spitalfields, London.”
The new working space is not quite ready yet, so in the meantime, Centre Screen will be relocating temporarily to a workspace in the old Granada HQ. We’d like to reassure all our clients and colleagues that while the move is taking place there will be absolutely no disruption to the day-to-day business. And we look forward to seeing everyone soon in our new commercial home.
30. January 2018
The grisly Danse Macabre, the Dance of Death, was a common yet dark motif of medieval European religious art. Typically depicting haunting carnivals of leering, dancing skeletons, these provocative representations acted as reminders that death and judgment came to all, whether princess or pauper, bishop or blacksmith. Found all across Europe, an exciting example has recently been discovered in La Hougue Bie on the Channel Island of Jersey. Centre Screen are excited to be part of the project to restore this important artistic work.
Last week, producer Laura Harris and motion graphics designer Joel Hepworth flew to Jersey to carry out projection tests of our AV dealing with the fragment of the mediaeval frieze found on the chapel’s walls.
As well as explaining the historic, religious and artistic background of this sinister artwork, the film will offer a glimpse into the life of the colourful cleric behind the chapel who was possibly responsible for the frieze. And it will end by showing what the Danse Macabre might have looked like in its heyday, with specially-commissioned illustrations brought to life by Joel and the Centre Screen design team.
It’s delivered via a projector hidden in a church lectern, crafted by our project partners at DJW to blend in perfectly with the surroundings. Last week’s task was to ensure that our illustrations line up properly with the original, mediaeval art. So far, it’s looking good – visitors will be able to judge for themselves when the exhibit opens to the public later this year.
Medieval art and contemporary technology.
The chapel stands above a Neolithic ritual mound.
16. January 2018
Image design by Carla Janssen-Höfelt, © DIVA.
Another exciting new project underway! We’re delighted to announce that we’re working with Netherlands’ exhibition developers and producers Bruns B.V. on the creation of DIVA, the Museum of Diamonds, Jewellery and Silverware in Antwerp. Producer Dave Thompson tells us more about the project and our collaboration with Bruns, DIVA, Belgium-based multimedia experts CREATE and Belgian filmmaker Mario de Munck.
“In partnership with DIVA we’re developing a suite of filmic programs and multimedia interactive installations to open a window into the history of diamonds and precious metals. Our contributions will guide visitors through the hidden world of diamond collectors, uncovering the people and stories connected to this high-price, high-risk trade. Engaging personal stories will be compounded by informative interactive elements bringing objects to life.”
The Museum will progress through the world of the collector, into the workshops, and onto the globe-spanning trade network. Personal histories will be expanded through social histories, through representations of opulent dining rooms and boudoirs. And the sometimes-murky provenance of diamonds and other precious metals will be explored through stories of robbery, deceit and counterfeiting in ‘The Vault.’
We’ll be sharing more details in the run-up to the grand opening on the 5 & 6 May, 2018.
19. December 2017
We’d like to take this opportunity to wish a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a successful New Year to all our clients, colleagues and collaborators. We’ve had a busy, exciting, eventful 2017 – working on projects as far afield as the United States, Singapore and the Arabian Gulf, and closer to home in Cork, Kilkenny, Connemara, Lincolnshire and London.
It has become an office tradition to donate to a local charity rather than send Christmas cards. This year we have decided collectively to support Manchester Action on Street Health.
We hope you have a wonderful holiday, and look forward to working together in 2018.
The Centre Screen Team.
17. November 2017
Centre Screen are excited to announce that Downton Abbey: The Exhibition opens in New York this week. The exhibition, produced by NBCUniversal International Studios with designers Mather & Co, features extensive audio-visual and interactive installations created by Centre Screen, and takes fans of the television phenomenon on an immersive journey through the stories, characters, production and real-life history behind Downton Abbey.
Centre Screen’s installations include large-screen character portraits, immersive projections and soundscapes, animated guides on dressing and social etiquette, and even virtual career guidance for would-be Downton staff members.
There’s a particular pride for the two centrepieces – The Library & Drawing Room, and Goodbye from Downton. The Library & Drawing Room is an immersive, animated life-size room whose projected walls come alive as they draw visitors into their stories. And Goodbye from Downton is a large-scale projection featuring newly-shot footage with stars of the show, including Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter and Phyllis Logan.
The whole visitor experience is tied together by a tablet-based interactive guide. Featuring bespoke app development, this multimedia guide brings extra depth to the dozens of props, costumes and memorabilia on display, as well as offering exclusive video interviews with cast and crew.
The exhibition opened in Singapore in June 2017 before embarking on a planned itinerary including major cities in the USA, Canada and Australia. The exhibition has received enthusiastic reviews from the press, from fans, and from the cast, with Phyllis Logon, Downton Abbey’s well-loved Mrs Hughes, responding,
“I got quite emotional… It felt like it had its own life. There was real heart to it.”
Downton Abbey: The Exhibition opens in New York on 18th November 2017. More details from http://www.downtonexhibition.com/
And a great review here from the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/arts/design/downton-abbey-the-exhibition-manhattan.html
*Ok, ok – Broadway is officially midtown, not uptown, and the venue is officially off-Broadway, but it’s New York and we’re excited.
5. September 2017
Centre Screen are excited to announce big changes to the way our London studio will be operating from the autumn. This week we say goodbye to our Shoreditch office, and begin a new, more flexible approach to our business in the capital.
Cloud-based production apps, video-call meetings, and superfast broadband mean we can think again about how we work in London, and we’ve used the opportunity as a springboard to make some clever operational changes. We will be retaining a bricks and mortar hub in Spitalfield’s Second Home, but client presentations and creative meetings can be held – well, where ever we want them to be held, and where ever best suits our clients and our collaborators. Whether we’re meeting at our new hub, over coffee in Bermondsey or The Museum Quarter, or presenting in a Soho cinema space, this new approach promises flexibility to adapt to current and future projects. It’s a hybrid form of organising that allows us to meet our clients’ needs, while giving our established ‘creative collective’ of London-based collaborators the 21st century flexibility and autonomy they deserve.
From a client perspective, the transition will be seamless. We remain committed to a high-level presence in the capital, and Executive Producer and Company Director Lisa O’Neill will continue to lead new and ongoing collaborations in London, guaranteeing an agile, dedicated response to the needs of clients, both nationally and internationally.
Similarly, it’s business as usual up north in Manchester with our in-house team, and Executive Producer and Company Director Hayley Walsh and Finance Director Trevor Hayes overseeing production, operations, and back-office functions.
We look forward to working with you in the future as we have in the past, and if you have any questions or would like to meet up in London, Manchester, or anywhere else for that matter, then we’d love you to get in touch!
24. March 2017
We’re delighted to announce exciting developments here at Centre Screen. As part of our long-term strategy to preserve the company’s creative standards and quality of service, a management buyout has been agreed with longstanding employees and Company Directors Hayley Walsh, Lisa O’Neill and Finance Director Trevor Hayes. All three of them have been an integral part of Centre Screen for many years and have been working together most recently as the core leadership team of our studios in Manchester and London.
Founders Dave Postlethwaite and Paul Kucharski will continue to work very closely with Hayley, Lisa and Trevor to ensure that the values and culture instilled when they founded Centre Screen in 1986 will remain at the company’s heart. They’re delighted that the business is moving forward with a new generation of leaders who know the business, staff and clients so well and who are perfectly placed to build on the longstanding reputation Centre Screen has as one of the world’s leading producers of digital media and audio visual communication.
Founded over 30 years ago, Centre Screen has seen its work featured in locations including the Sydney Tower Australia, the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, the Tower of London, The National Museum of Oman, Stonehenge Visitors Centre and, opening soon, the House of European History in Brussels. The management buyout, as Dave Postlethwaite explains, will preserve the ethos of creative excellence and professionalism behind these successes. “The exciting thing for me is that Centre Screen will remain a private independent business answerable only to its staff and clients – a creative force that remains energised and focused on serving its clients in an intensely personalised and focused way.”
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