There isn’t a ‘typical day’ at Mather & Co; in fact we often joke in the office that each day is a bit like an episode from The Apprentice. One day I can be standing on a drafty building site liaising with an architect and the next, creating interactive designs and deciding which would be more interesting for a five year old. If you like variety in your job, then designing museums and visitor attractions is definitely a career to consider. Each attraction is different and every design is bespoke.

I’ve been working for Mather & Co for four years, straight out of University, and I’ve never looked back. We’re a small, tight-knit team, which I really love, working globally on some really fantastic brands and co-ordinating a small army of contractors and freelancers to help design and build outstanding visitor attractions.

The office is really active at the moment as we have at least four projects that will be starting on site at the beginning of next year, so we are currently working on producing all the tender documentation to get the contractors on board within the next couple of months.

After settling at my desk, I have some final proofing amends to a tender document that we are submitting for a new Heritage Lottery Fund project. We tender for a variety of different projects from site master-planning to full design and build. Each one is different and often includes the minefield that is the online submission portal, but we have found that being on the other side of the judging panel with some projects has helped us evaluate our submissions to make them more concise, understandable and hopefully interesting to the client. We often help the client evaluate tenders on projects and, if we’re appointed as lead consultant on a project, we will manage the main fit-out and get involved in the tender process for the main building contractors, graphics, AV software, display cases, architects etc. The list is long.

Olympic Museum, Lausanne

Also on my list of things to do today is a set of drawings for an exciting museum project we are working on in the south of England. It has a really varied collection ranging from pre-history through to modern social history, and today I’m drawing Iron Age and Roman collection items in CAD. Every item from the client’s content sheet is drawn out in elevation on plan in AutoCAD and then arranged in the cases. Almost like a jigsaw, it can be frustrating when you can’t find space to fit everything but after a little rejigging there is usually a huge sigh of relief and accomplishment when everything drops into place.

During a well-deserved sandwich break I update our twitter feed. Today we are following a strangely intriguing story about the National Football Museum (NFM) acquiring footballer, Robbie Savage’s ponytail. Mather & Co designed the NFM and whilst I think it’s an object that provides the curators with a challenge of how to interpret and mount it for display there are weirder objects that we have included in display cases! I’m responsible for keeping our social media up to date and often get involved in our marketing activities in terms of brochures for exhibitions, prospect mailers and PR. We’ve also been producing some video testimonials of completed projects lately, and I’ve been helping out with the co-ordination of these – especially those that are abroad, like the Springbok Museum in Cape Town, South Africa.

Springbok Museum, South Africa

This afternoon we’ve got a team brainstorming meeting to develop some initial concept designs for a new project we’re working on. It’s another project in Europe for which the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, which we completed last year, recommended us. We need to come up with ideas for themes and key messages for the interpretation as well as the ‘big wow’ design features. As a team, we all have different roles: some look after the content, themes and written exhibits; others the architectural assessment, visitor flows, project management and, of course, the 3D design work.

Whilst we’re in our meeting, we receive a call that one of our projects has been successful in its Heritage Lottery bid for funding and has received £3.7 million. We work on a number of national and international projects but we are really proud of our HLF experience and have a 100% record with Round 1 and 2 funding applications.

My final task of the day is planning the stand at the upcoming Soccerex convention, which is in Manchester at the beginning of September. We have built many of the UK’s football museums including Arsenal, Chelsea and exhibitions at Wembley, and this is a big event in our calendar. There are brochures to print, an exhibition stand to book and design and I’m talking to the National Football Museum to see if we can borrow a trophy or another exhibit for our stand at the show.

Tomorrow, I’m heading out of the office for the day to see a client and sign off on some of our designs. No two days are the same at the moment.

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