Tandem Design

SS Nomadic

Visitor Experience

SS Nomadic

Titanic Belfast

“… an experience that conveys multiple histories and encourages visitors to respond to personal stories and discern a sense of place.”

SS Nomadic showcases the breadth of Tandem's expertise, from interpretive and spatial design to procurement and management of subcontracted specialists.

We worked very closely with the conservation architect to ensure an interpretive solution that was sympathetic to the listed environment of SS Nomadic, Titanic’s tender and the only extant White Star Line ship.

Leading from our robust interpretive plan, we co-ordinated the research, writing, artefact and image research for the ship and dockside.

Tandem had whole responsibility for the interpretive graphic design. Having conceptualised a range of physical and digital interactives and AV components throughout the ship we worked with the client to tender, mark and procure a range of  specialist sub-contractors to bring these ideas to fruition. We supervised the completion of all these elements.

Throughout the project, we demonstrated an ability to work within a complex team structure. This was one which required us to develop an interpretive solution that balanced the needs of funders, including HLF and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, as well as the Nomadic Charitable Trust and Trading Arm. We addressed the sometimes-competing demands on the heritage resource from the stakeholder bodies, working tirelessly with the team to find creative solutions and expand common ground.

Operating as an intellectual client, we also acted as the hub between the client team and our sub-contractors, managing procurement and installation for the interpretive elements while also working within the demands and constraints of the wider design team. Within this framework, Tandem developed an interpretive design that treated the unique heritage resource with the utmost respect.

Artefact and interpretation are blurred, as graphic and on-screen interpretation merges with the ship’s fabric. Visitors can discover touch screens disguised within table tops, walk through setworks of the crew members’ quarters and explore the contents of the Titanic passengers’ baggage.

The venue’s multi-purpose function is reflected in the interpretive design. By day a museum ship, by night a venue for hospitality functions; elements of the interpretation can be made to disappear, while still remaining permanent and robust.

Out of doors, we made the best use of available space to create a multifaceted and seamless learning environment, helping the visitor  to understand the complex operations of a dry dock.

The interpretive experience was developed from a solid foundation of research and interpretive planning. We understood the need to balance multiple narratives, allowing the symbiosis of the local and global significances of the heritage resource, so that they could be individually acknowledged and collectively celebrated.

The primary exhibition narrative was scoped from this baseline, mapping themes to spaces and delivery mechanisms to specific learning objectives. This ‘ground-up’ approach cultivated a multi-sensory and participatory experience that presented solid interpretive themes using accessible and appealing designs.

At every stage, Tandem sought feedback and approval from the entire project team. Workshops with sample audience and interest groups were used to gauge the relevance and value of thematic strands in general and digital interactive devices in particular.

By using this approach we succeeded in delivering an experience which conveys multiple histories and a wide range of thematic strands in a manner that encourages visitors to respond to personal stories and discern a sense of place that complements their own interests and experiences.

Making the best use of available space Tandem created a multifaceted and seamless learning environment.


AHI Awards 2015
SS Nomadic, Runner Up
Museums and Historic
Properties Category