Belfast City Hall recently threw its doors open to the public, following a multi-million pound renovation, and this fascinating exhibition centre is fast becoming one of Belfast’s most popular tourist destinations. The exhibition offers a journey from the city’s past to present, showing the vibrancy and diversity of Belfast City Hall across six themed zones.
Legato was chosen to help bring this epic story to life using a wide variety of our innovative, interactive screen and our unique insight software solutions. The challenges were complex and diverse, but with an excellent relationship with the exhibition fit-out team it did not take long to deliver the best hardware and software solutions for each individual element of the exhibition.
What’s in a name? Connecting to the Covenant
In 1912 the Ulster Covenant and Declaration was signed by nearly half a million men and women. All these signatures are held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) who kindly agreed to allow us access to their huge data base of names.
We wanted the visitors to be able to search these archives live by surname, forename or place in order to view actual signatures. It was important that this process was fun and quickly rewarding therefore we designed a smart, touchscreen interface, featuring a large font keyboard, simple navigation and the ability to zoom into the very pages of the original documents.
Legato software was installed on three 18.5 “inch All in one touchscreens which were recessed into a reproduction desk similar to those used in 1912.
Face off! Digitally curating the City Hall’s Portrait Collection
Some ninety painted portraits of Belfast’s Lord Mayors, stretching back to 1846 have long been hidden in back corridors and dimly lit offices. Legato’s challenge was to create an interactive experience which allowed the public to view all these pictures from one spot.
After all the paintings where photographed, we created a searchable Portrait Gallery which visitors can view, perfectly framed, on a 32”inch all-in-one touchscreen mounted on a custom pedestal. Users can select any portrait to view and zoom into examine the details or brushwork. Mayoral biographies and information about the painters is also available at the tap of a button.
A bespoke Content Management System, which we trained the City Hall team on how to use, allows them to add new portraits each year, almost as soon as the paint has dried!
Past Lives. Walking the Victorian streets of Belfast
The 1897 Street Directory provides fascinating information about every street in the City and who lived and worked there. Legato painstakingly mapped 200 streets around the site of City Hall and catalogued them so that any visitor can immerse themselves in the lives of Belfast folk over a hundred and twenty years ago.
When a street name is selected, the user can see its location relevant to where they are standing displayed on a huge, navigable map. Users are also invited to read the corresponding pages of the Street Directory, literally zooming in on the lives, homes and businesses of their ancestors.
This technology is presented on two stunning 32”inch all-in-one touchscreens with integrated insight media players.
Many ways to watch a video
Scattered throughout the many rooms in the City Hall exhibition are many video presentations, some of which, like the short tributes to Frank Carson or Carl Frampton constantly loop on neat little 10.1”inch tablet style displays.
Other longer video presentations within the exhibition will also play all day on loop, however we added an eye-catching, flashing button which allows visitors to restart the videos from the beginning when pushed.
For two of our 22” video screens we used AutoPlay Headphones. The screens displays looping attractor video at all times and when the auto-play headset is lifted from its unique hanger, a different video is activated. When the headphones are placed back in hanger, the video stops and the attractor screen returns.