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Exhibition Takes Flight

Freeman Ryan Design complete work on the latest exhibition at the Australian War Memorial.

Exhibition Takes Flight


February 18th, 2009

For anyone who has visited the Australian War Memorial (AWM) in Canberra, its emotional power would be very familiar.

Over the Front: the Great War in the Air – the latest exhibition design to be completed at the AWM by Freeman Ryan Design – adds further depth to this unique experience.

Telling the story of military flight and aerial combat in the First World War, the exhibition space features five original WWI aircraft as well a collection of museum items, interpretive graphics and information.

As with the previous AWM exhibitions by FRD, the space functions not only as a museum display, but as a powerful and deeply moving theatrical event – with an hourly 10-minute-long multimedia and sound installation.

“The exciting opportunity for us at FRD was to develop the design concept, then collaborate with NZ film director Peter Jackson, (and CGI studio Weta in Wellington), who was engaged by the AWM to make the multimedia, produce a film that extended over the 3 X 22 metre screen […] three times the width of standard cinema,” says Susan Freeman, design director of FRD.

The project involved a complex multi-disciplinary collaboration between designers, multimedia and lighting technicians, and conservation experts, as well structural and aeronautical engineers who developed support structures for the aircraft.

“Such large-scale iconic exhibitions are a really fantastic design challenge, and are only successful with a team of highly motivated specialists, and of course a visionary, well informed client,” Freeman says.

Freeman Ryan Design

Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Photography by John Gollings



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Australian War memorial

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