26 Shacklewell Lane
London E8 2EZ

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St Michael’s Mount visitor centre


Planning Unit together with Skellon Studio, were commissioned by St Aubyn Estates and the National Trust to create a new visitor centre at St Michael’s Mount in the Old Barge House on the harbour front. 

The brief was to create a space to welcome visitors to learn the history of the mount, orient themselves and plan their day. Our solution was a simple, elegant installation that felt at home within the refurbished building. The main wall display consists of graphic presentation of a variety of information about the island and the life of the island community. Three other evocative displays bring the Mount to life: a display of postcards showing the Mount through visitors’ eyes over the years; a tactile table top model of the Mount cast from copper; and a film we art directed, that captures the life and seasons of the Mount through a day and across a year.

The wooden framework system was designed to break up information into clear, organised sections as well as a layering system to hold different levels of content. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the visitor centre is that it is prone to flooding during high tides and storms. We devised a functional solution to have a hinged mechanism on top of all of the displays which can be lifted up and attached to the roof, out of the way of the incoming sea.

Project Scope

Interpretation design, Graphic design, Illustration, Art Direction

“Working with Planning Unit has been energizing, hugely productive and all undertaken with a spirit of great good humour. They have immense knowledge and skill, but are also prepared to listen and work collaboratively with the client. We are so pleased to have found Planning Unit.”
Mary St Levan, Director, St Aubyn Estates
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“They were flexible, they understood what we were trying to achieve even before we did, and they led us through the process in an easy, gentle and focused way. The end result is amazing, beautiful, innovative and informative”
Ramon van de Velde, Chief Executive Officer, St Aubyn Estates