We were asked to review the zoo’s key messaging and mission about conservation and education, then link this to the existing Chester Zoo brand identity and ethos, to create an unparalleled visitor experience throughout the indoor areas of the new piazza.
We developed a core idea centering around a ‘Base Camp’ theme as the place that everybody returns to for all of their support needs. This is best showcased in the retail shop with design principles adopted in all the other areas to ensure a consistent journey for customers.
Key highlights included:
• ‘The Tree of Life’: a giant (15ft) merchandised tree with an integrated audio and visual experience in the retail area that creates a central focus, enabling the zoo to have engaging conversations through demonstrations, talks and events.
• Breaking the ‘soft toys’ mould of zoo shops by introducing two main merchandise zones – one for kids and one more adult orientated.
• An honesty and naturalness with materials, finishes and point of sales to bring the zoo’s outdoor experience indoors: raw natural plywood, unfinished metal, exposed ceilings.
• Circulation, traffic and queuing solutions to cope with massive surges of footfall in the summer and at other key points in the year. For example, the shop’s main counter style bank of cash desks will be open all the time. A secondary bank in the adult zone serves as an overflow for peak times, and is closed and used as a merchandising area when it’s less busy.
• Use of sustainable and energy efficient materials and finishes where possible, particularly in terms of lighting.
• Review of the zoo’s tone of voice, graphics, point of sale communications and merchandise (paper, plastic and bags for life) to link purchases back to Chester Zoo’s wider mission of conservation and education.
“M Worldwide rose to this challenge in its ability to understand what our visitors want, to collaborate with the many stakeholders and partners involved in making this happen, and to do it on time and to budget.”
Simon Mann, Director of Development, Chester Zoo