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Creative Brief & ORGANISATIONAL DESIGN FOR THE ARTS CENTRE’s Rutherford’s Den

Arts Centre Christchurch – Christchurch, New Zealand
Research, Facilitation, Strategy, Delivery

Christchurch is a city on the move. Following the devastating earthquakes of 2011, reconstruction is in full swing. Working for the Arts Centre Christchurch, this commission focused on the development of a creative and strategic brief for the rebuilding of Rutherford's Den, as well as new, sustainable operational model to ensure the long term viability of this local institution within the city’s Arts Centre precinct.

An invaluable educational resource in the past, Rutherford's Den was ripe for reinvention before the 2011 earthquakes. The former research rooms (used by Ernest Rutherford himself, the man who split the atom), were an attraction for school groups and schoolchildren. The Arts Centre Vision created the imperative for high quality interfaces to lift the quality of the experience of the precinct. Rutherford's Den is the opportunity to set the tone for that enhanced experience.

Firstly, Left Bank Co. collaborated with the Arts Centre executive team to develop the creative and strategic brief for finding a suitable proponent to design the renewed Rutherford’s Den, as well as the management of the pitch process which involved three award-winning agencies in New Zealand and Australia. This included facilitated sessions with the CEO and executive to understand the institution and the needs and intentions for the site, and strategic development and copywriting of the brief document. Sydney-based creative agency Esem Projects in collaboration with Sago Design and Blac and Co. was awarded the project, and their work completed in 2016.

Secondly, Left Bank Co. worked closely with the Arts Centre leadership to develop a revised organisational design for operating Rutherford’s Den in alignment with it’s refreshed experiential qualities, in order to establish the institution as a financially sustainable business and attractive to a broad public audience. This process was undertaken with facilitated sessions with the executive team, in-depth research into international benchmarks and strategic development of a suitable business model that would achieve the objectives for the institution.

The completed organisational design was used as the basis for applying for further government funding in order to establish Rutherford’s Den in the best manner possible for its re-launch in late 2016.  The revitalised Rutherford’s Den reopened in late 2016 with much success, and is forming the foundation for opening up the rest of the Arts Centre precinct. Read more here.

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