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The new NPR Headquarters and Production Studios in Washington, DC needed a permanent, interactive lobby exhibition to illustrate the history of the renowned news organization.
Complementing the adjacent 2-story digital media mosaic which mirrors the NPR website in real-time, the designers developed a 70-foot-long, permanent, interactive exhibition that spans the length of the building’s lobby. The exhibition consists of a reader rail supporting 2 tiers of angled panels displaying narrative text, images, video monitors, and interactive audio listening devices featuring detailed information about NPR. The rail is divided into 5 sections, each dedicated to a story significant to NPR: History and Mission provides background information on the organization; Signature Storytelling features anecdotes about some of NPR’s favorite personalities and programs; Grand Trunk Road offers stories from a series NPR aired about the historic South Asian road; A Spirit of Innovation documents NPR’s technological advancements over the years; and A Community of Stations and Listeners highlights the relationship between NPR member stations across the nation and their listeners and includes a member network map displayed above. Created in a translucent white resin with raised translucent blue rods to pin-point the location of each member station, the map’s placement at a window allows it to glow with natural light. The upper portion of the reader rail features NPR milestones, a continuous timeline highlighting important moments in public radio history juxtaposed alongside significant events in world and broadcast history.
The interactive component of the exhibition includes an interface that allows smart phone users to access a specially designed website offering a selection of audio clips to accompany each section of the exhibition. The designers collaborated with a media developer to create this user interface adding an interactive audio element to the exhibition.
Poulin + Morris continued to work with NPR on a variety of projects for their new headquarters, including a comprehensive environmental graphics, donor recognition, and wayfinding sign program, as well as branding and identity programs for the NPR store—NPR Commons and their staff cafeteria—Soundbites Café.