Seattle’s Space Needle is an American icon. But how many people know the dramatic story of its creation?
In March 2016 – more than 50 years after the Needle opened – the Space Needle revealed the story of the Needle’s birth and building.
Storyline was engaged to find a way to tell that story in a very challenging space – a long spiral ramp that leads visitors to the Space Needle elevators. Working hand-in-hand with the Needle’s historian, the Storyline team pored though thousands of archival images to understand the genius of its design and the daring of its builders.
The historic images were a critical factor in shaping the design. So too was the challenge of the space – one that curves and rises in elevation, and is filled with daylight. The solution? A series of 13 custom-designed curved illuminated panels that feel like part of the building’s architecture.
We also wanted to convey a sense of the time: the optimism of the space race, and the tension of the cold war. We drew on the Needle’s own brand visual identity designed to transport visitors – for a moment or two – to 1962.
A further challenge inherent in this space is that it is essentially a ramp along which visitors walk to get to the elevators. How best to ensure that circulation is not impeded, and yet grab people’s attention and enrich their experience? The images themselves are compelling, but we also added some ‘treats:” a series of 3-D printed models showing key stages of the ingenious construction, along with a series of playful inter-actives.
The Needle was built in just 400 days with an ingenuity and courage that defies belief. It all happened because of the efforts of a few “dreamers and doers.” We hope that our team of dreamers and doers would make those pioneers proud.
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