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Paragon Creative News: Istanbul Aquarium, The Deep, The Tower of London, Rebuilding the Titanic and Ripleys


A taste of Paragon’s current projectsSee our newsletters for a bigger picture.

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This stunning new aquarium in Istanbul is now complete and is due to open September 2011.  Paragon Creative has been privileged to work as the lead thematic and interactive contractor. The finished results are spectacular and approach the design and fit-out of aquariums in a unique and innovative way.

We have created many varied and exciting environments including a huge corian based interactive map incorporating thousands of LEDs, a full sized Noah’s Ark, a Global Warming area featuring a real iceberg, a sunken Liberty Ship wreck, a huge interactive Suez Canal model with interactives showing the progression of the build of the Canal and a Nautilus submarine experience to name only a few features. 

One of our most stunning areas is the recreation of a Mediterranean cave system, measuring over 700 sq meters in area. The artificial rock work was ‘live’ sculpted in specially mixed sprayed concrete over a complex structural steel form, then meticulously hand painted to ensure absolute realism. One of the main challenges was to ensure the design of the cave integrated seamlessly with the numerous aquarium tanks which were already installed in the area. This was overcome by our design engineers computer modelling of the whole sub-frame system and theming prior to construction. 

This is our biggest rockwork project to date and involved the use of over 20 tons of steel and 80 tons of concrete, along with our highly talented and experienced team. 

This major project has involved all our departments including sculpture, metalwork, scenic and theming, interactives, design, GRP, and of course our joinery team. It has been a fantastic project for Paragon Creative to work on, utilising all our skills and creativity.

We have also been asked to create two secondary attractions within the Aquarium to launch in December 2011.

The first attraction will be Quest to Save the Rainforest. This highly interactive and highly themed attraction covers ten zones and will feature battles with loggers, finding medicine in the rainforest, crossing treacherous water… lots of physical, mental and skill based challenges. This is a large Quest capable of entertaining over 1.5 million visitors per year.

The second attraction will be Europe’s largest interactive Mirror Maze. The task will be to find the ‘source of the Amazon’. The Maze will be themed as a Rain Forest with 1000’s of trees and 200sqm of canopy.

There will also be animals and scares within the theming to keep audiences on their toes!


We have recently completed our latest project at the Tower of London.  Powerhouse tells the story of the varied and pivotal roles that the Tower has played over the centuries – from Royal Mint to Armouries to Menagerie to Prison to Royal Observatory – the list goes on!

The new exhibition, housed on the top floor of the White Tower, consists of models, hands-on interactive displays, showcases, large scale steel AV structures and also what has proven to be one of our most creative challenges yet… a four metre tall dragon with a 5m wingspan, sat on a nest of gunpowder barrels and weighing in at nearly 1.5 tons.  The Dragon is an icon for the Tower and is made from over 2672 replica items, all relating to the numerous roles of the Tower.  The amazing sculpture took our team over 800 man hrs to design, build and install. 


Over the past year we have been design developing and building large parts of the ‘Youth of the Nile Museum’ in Cairo.  The Museum is a pioneer experience in Egypt where building, park and child interact and are integrated and will host 100, 000 children each year.

Paragon Creative is undertaking major set works, interactives, model making and theming packages for the first floor gallery and the interactives in the basement level. We are producing a variety of exhibits.


Ever since it first opened in 1996, the Tournament Gallery has been a firm favourite with visitors to the Royal Armouries in Leeds. However, the loan of a number of the key items of Henry VIII’s armour to the Tower of London for the 2009 exhibition ‘Dressed to Kill’ provided an ideal opportunity for the Royal Armouries to re-present the gallery and capitalise on some of the assets developed for the White Tower exhibition.

We worked closely with the Royal Armouries team to design develop new ways of interpreting the collection and displaying the armours in new and dynamic ways.  We installed new graphic interpretation, banners, set works and interactives and a large projection screen to allow short films about the armour to be played in the gallery. The audio tracks of these films resonate throughout the space bringing the sounds and the thrill of tournament into the gallery.


We are proud to be working with one of our Turkish clients and the Turkish Government to build a new immersive visitor centre based at Gallipoli on the west coast of Turkey. 

The Kabatebe Simulation Centre is a new museum built into the hillside at Gallipoli and is the only building to have been granted permission to be constructed on the protected battlefield site. The Centre will include full 5D experiences spread over 13 galleries and utilising contemporary film, cutting edge 3D CGI animation, panoramic screens with moving stages and heavily themed environments with special effects to tell the story of the WW1 Gallipoli Campaign. 

Our work scope includes building two replica Krupps 240mm Fortress guns, both measuring over 12m long; a large recreation of a section of HMS Ocean with fully functioning recoiling and smoking naval guns measuring 7m long; a full size replica mine ship with mines and moving deck; trench scenes and numerous museum quality sculpted soldiers and their equipment.



The opening of this new visitor centre marks the completion of the first and second phase of the much anticipated £1.6 million ‘Train of Thought’ project aimed at regenerating the station area. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is Britain’s biggest and most popular heritage steam railway.

Paragon Creative undertook the full fit out, design development, joinery, graphic production, interactives, props and model making work scope of this project. Our interactives had to be very sturdy in design so we have lift flaps, smell flaps and split revolving towers featuring four key characters from the station who can be rotated and spun to make an amalgamation of a mystery character. The model features LEDs to highlight stations, certain natural features and areas of historical importance to the visitor.  We have also undertaken the theming and interactives on the station platform which will help complete the atmosphere on the platform for visitors and themed event days.

Maria Vinnels, NYMR Learning Manager, wrote; “In the planning and development phase, Paragon were easy to work with and offered good practical advice based on their years of experience in their field. The installation phase went smoothly and Paragon was able to complete the installation ahead of schedule. Their installation staff were competent and consistently polite and thoughtful.  All work met our expectations and has received many approving comments from staff and visitors alike.”


We have recently installed phase one of our interactive and model making packages for the new Museum of Liverpool which is one of the word’s leading city history museums and is setting a benchmark for social history museums worldwide.

Our workscope includes models of the Liverpool Docks and the Pier Head. We have also created a four part model illustrating the changes over time in the suburbs of Everton. This model shows the locality as it was in 1768, 1900, 1965 and 2011 – the similarities may surprise visitors more than the changes!  We have also undertaken a number of interactives and scenic elements. The interactives are bright, fun and engaging, designed to appeal to a wide range of visitors and communicate a variety of subject matters in a variety of media.

Paragon Creative has also been responsible for Little Liverpool, a gallery for children under six. Little Liverpool is a bright interactive and thematic space with over 30 interactives based around Liverpool life.  One of our crowning glories for the museum is a life sized bas relief replica of a Liver Bird, measuring over 6m high, which will be a key attraction within the exhibition space.


The museum traces the history of Oxford University’s involvement in printing and publishing from the fifteenth century to the present day.  The new exhibition shows the growth of OUP as a printer of academic literature, Bibles, and Prayer Books, and includes printing equipment from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 

Paragon Creative has now completed the detailed and production design phase of this prestigious project.  Our work scope includes design development, graphic design, full fit out, joinery and showcases. We have had to ensure that all the cases installed are not only aesthetically pleasing but also of the highest conservation grade to ensure the care and preservation of some the nations most valued and important publisher’s artefacts.


Paragon Creative together with retail design partners Drinkall Dean has been awarded the design and development for 200 Netia retail stores throughout Poland. Netia is a leading independent fixed line telephony operator in Poland.  

With Drinkall Dean’s retail knowledge and Paragon Creative’s practical experience, the challenge was to create something truly innovative and not seen in any other ‘telecoms and networks’ store in Europe.  Our development challenge is to provide a ‘toolbox’ approach to the implementation of Flagship, High Street and POS stores through a list of branded and designed items that can populate any store.

In 2010, Paragon and Drinkall Dean tendered and successfully won this innovative and exciting project that will see the start of Netia stores rolling out across Poland later this year.


The Deep in Hull unveiled its new Amazon Explorers’ Den for February half term this year. The new den features live insects and carnivorous plants and features a live link to the Brazilian Amazon, where The Deep is now sponsoring a ranger.  The project was to transform a rather dated North Sea display into an Amazonian flooded forest. The tank which boasts a 7m by 3m acrylic window has extremely limited access and could not be drained during construction.

Paragon Creative was contracted to create the in-tank theming consisting of huge mangrove tree roots, built offsite in our York workshops and installed in-tank by divers whilst the tank was still full of water.  All the tank dressing which includes two massive buttress roots had to be made in pieces and then assembled under water by the Deep’s Dive Team. The new tank graphics undertaken by Calvert & Pyrah are a new, stylish and effective way of listing the tank species in an aquarium.

Colin Brown The Deep’s Chief Executive added “We always knew this had the potential to be a very difficult project, access to the tank is very restricted and our timescales were short, but Paragon worked with us closely all the way through and have delivered a stunning product which we, and more importantly the public are very impressed with. The guys at Paragon did a great job for us.”


Paragon Creative has produced and installed interactives, models and metalwork features for this stunning new £21 million museum in Alloway, Ayrshire. The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum holds the world’s largest collection of artefacts relating to Scotland’s best known Bard. The collections include over 5, 500 manuscripts, books, personal artefacts and artworks relating to Robert Burns and his legacy.  Our work included a model of Burn’s Cottage, the Burn’s supper table game, a metalwork trysting tree, weather vanes, dry stone wall inserts and a stunning nightdress installation.

The whole project, which has taken six years to complete, will feature original manuscripts written by the poet and it has been nominated for the prestigious Art Fund Prize 2011.


We are delighted to be working with the Royal Armouries again. This time we are undertaking the physical interactives package for Fort Nelson in Portsmouth.  Fort Nelson was built in the 1860s as part of a large chain of fortifications designed to protect the great naval harbour of Portsmouth in Hampshire and its Royal Dockyard from a feared French invasion.

The interactives are designed to illustrate a number of key subjects relating to the Fort’s history.  These include a ‘how the fort was built’ interactive, a smelly slopping out bucket, a giant magnifying slider and a semaphores and flags interactive, and our ‘Touch – Look – Listen’ interactive from our joint interactives products range produced in conjunction with the Royal Armouries.


The Museum of Lancashire in Preston is renovating seven galleries and improving visitor facilities in its Grade II listed home. Paragon Creative is working closely with the refurbishment contractors and the Council’s teams to design develop an engaging and informative ‘Trench Experience’.
The plans for the refurbished museum include increased interactivity, improved access for all and of course, Paragon Creative’s realistic recreated walk through a World War I trench. Key features include costumed figures, weapons from the museum’s collection and interactives designed and built by the in-house team in the Lancashire Museum.


Alan Simons of Touchwood Design said “We appointed Paragon to produce interactive machines for a coastal interpretation visitor centre, as their pedigree in this area is unsurpassed in the UK. I liked their attitude throughout. In particular, making the interactives visitor-proof by design. The skills they possess in-house are astonishing. The results are fantastic and I have a happy client.”


The newly developed Roman Army Museum is located at the Roman fort of Carvoran, next to Hadrian’s Wall. This new immersive exhibition focuses on the organisation of the Roman Army and it’s importance as an instrument of the Roman Empire, the structure of the massive military machine and the every day duties that the legionaries and auxiliary troops performed whilst living on Rome’s most northern frontier.
Paragon Creative was contracted by Edinburgh based museum design specialists, Studio MB, to design, deliver and install a Roman Syrian archer’s bow interactive which allows visitors to test their skill by firing a replica Roman bow. It’s not as easy as it looks in the movies!  We sculpted the bow based upon historical information and cast it in a modern composite material to give it a life-like draw weight.


A major new Titanic visitor attraction is being built in Belfast. Paragon Creative has been awarded the key contracts for the Scenic fit-out of the dark ride and the interactives contract.

Event Communication’s design takes visitors on ‘a journey’ beginning in a gallery exploring Belfast’s industrial, shipbuilding and maritime history. Visitors will then be taken up through the building, passing a huge replica of the propeller, to a six-minute audio-visual ride showcasing the creation of the vessel. A ‘flying theatre’ will finish the visitor experience, featuring cutting-edge moving seats suspending visitors over a cinema screen.

The attraction, currently called the Titanic/Maritime Heritage Signature Project exhibition is to be set within a £97m Eric Kuhne and Associates-designed landmark in Belfast’s docklands.   The Titanic Signature Building will be capable of hosting in the region of 900, 000 visitors per annum, including up to 400, 000 visitors to the exhibition.


This new exhibition at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum marks the centenary of the launch of the Titanic. Paragon Creative is creating four exciting and new interactive displays to help with the interpretation of this epic story – Riveting, Communications, Connections and a central display model featuring a Morse Code interactive.


Paragon Creative was commissioned to produce lifelike models for the new Clara Bog Visitor Centre in County Offaly in Ireland.


Paragon Creative has been contracted by Studio SP in Edinburgh to theme and fit-out a new visitor centre in New Ross, Eire. The visitor experience includes an on shore interpretation centre and a tour on board The Dunbrody, which is a replica 176ft long 19th century sailing ship.  Visitors will see the historic background to the Great Famine, and why so many people were forced to emigrate on sailing ships like Dunbrody to America in the mid 19th century.


We were recently contracted by Ripley’s Believe it or Not in Piccadilly Circus to sculpt and cast a figure of Robert Pershing Wadlow, the tallest person in history at 8ft 11.1in.


Working in conjunction with Aquarium Design International Ltd, Paragon Creative has completed a bespoke piece of in-tank coral theming for a private home aquarium in London.

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