Surely it’s not possible. How can anyone create a boulder in just 10 weeks when we all know they take millions of years to form? Discover how the skilled team at FWDP managed to create a rock in a matter of weeks.
Amid miles of beautiful rolling moorland stands the historic Maen Llia, an ancient monolith in Brecon Beacons National Park thought to date back to the Neolithic period. Brimming with rich history and fascinating stories, this notable relic is a legacy left to us by our ancestors. The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority were looking to provide exciting interpretation which would educate, inspire and enlighten visitors. As creative designers, FWDP were approached to fulfill this exciting task. From the outset, we knew this project was going to be special; from the design to the deliverables, everything about creating this stone-inspired interpretation took great amounts of skill from our fabricators and oodles of creativity from our design team.
This blog post will show you step-by-step how we transformed a heap of raw materials into a beautifully constructed and composed interpretation in just ten weeks. Let’s begin!
The first step was putting our creative caps on to come up with a dynamic design which would blend with Brecon Beacons’ rugged upland and provide engaging interpretation for visitors. Our designers came up with concepts which cleverly replicated the curves and contours of the Maen Llia and gave the interpretation a dynamic and lifelike effect.
Now it was time to bring the design to life! We scanned and digitised the artwork to generate cutter files; the aluminium was cut into shape using a laser cutter and would form the back and front panels of the structure. The acrylic would be sandwiched between the aluminium and provide engaging illustrations and information.
Next we drilled holes into the aluminium and acrylic sheets using a pedestal drill.
We then created custom fixings and welded them onto the front aluminium panel which would secure the three layers of material tightly in place.
As you can see, the fixings are incredibly robust; the layers weren’t going to budge an inch!
Next we welded the aluminium panels to a strong base plate with custom gussets to securely hold the display in place.
The aluminium was then powder-coated to make the interpretation as tough and durable as possible. In a nutshell, powder-coating is a process where electro-statically charged powder is sprayed onto a sheet of metal (in our case it was the aluminium) before being placed in a hot oven. The powder melts and sticks firmly to the metal which forms a tough, durable coating.
While the aluminium was being powder-coated, the clear acrylic was cut into shape using a CNC Router.
The acrylic was then coated in various layers of print. We began by printing the artwork and the text on the back of the acrylic; in order to make it stand out more vividly against the light, another layer of white was printed on the back. Lastly, we printed the rock texture over the white layer which gave the interpretation a realistic and natural appearance.
To protect and preserve the artwork we coated it in an anti-scratch laminate; this would keep the interpretation looking perfect for many years.
By this time, the aluminium was ready to use; we printed it with the rock texture before coating it in an anti-graffiti layer.
It was now the moment of truth! It was time to slot all three pieces together. Security fixings bolted the three layers together. And hey presto, we had a beautiful piece of interpretation.
Now this interpretation would have to battle with the ferocious winds of the Welsh highlands, so to prevent it from toppling over we custom made a ground fixing root to securely anchor it to the ground.
Brecon Beacons National Park Authority took advantage of our installation service which meant we had a lovely trip to Wales! Our trusty team did a fantastic job of installing the interpretation, so much so a passer-by stopped to have a look!
Our Maen Llia interpretation sits perfectly within the Brecon Beacons National Park and provides engaging information without spoiling the look of the natural environment. If your site is rich in history or has fascinating stories to tell, why not get in touch today so we can discuss your vision further. Drop us an email at [email protected] or call us on 01634 776 213.
FWDP are a creative design company who are passionate about enhancing the visitor experience. We specialise in exhibition design, heritage interpretation, App design, interpretation planning and visitor guides and leaflets. For more information visit our website at www.fwdpcreative.co.ukby