The Chelsea Sugar Refinery has opened an exciting new visitor experience centre. In partnership with skilled exhibition designers, Art of Fact, we created an interactive experience to introduce young people to the joy of baking.
The target audience is school-aged children. We know young visitors to exhibitions enjoy hands-on activities that allow them to play, learn and express creativity. We also know how kids love to play “shop” and even in this digital world they still love playing with physical props.
A key challenge for this experience was the young age of the target audience, with a short attention span, and that it had to cater to large school groups all using the interactive at the same time. We also really wanted to capture something of the real-world pleasure of baking in a digital experience.On top of that, we're working with multiple screens and physical props, trying to turn a large amount of video, a touch-screen interface, and physical props into one cohesive experience.
Star-baker Annabel White guides the baker on every step, with two screens programmed to work together throughout the process. The blending of physical and digital happens by using beautifully crafted replicas of the ingredients, with RFID tags inside, that the visitors physically bring to their bench. Each ingredient is then magically recognised by our chef; “yes, that’s the sugar, now measure it …”.
Highlights from users include being able to drag a rolling pin up and down the screen and see the mix getting flatter underneath it (magic!), and the cleverly combined animations of real ingredients blending as you mix. If you mix too fast, you see the chef being splattered with flour – this sets off the giggles from the kids. At the end of the experiencec, everyone loves being able to get creative - selecting biscuits shapes, icing and adding sprinkles
We witnessed young children engaged and excited to be learning new skills and wanting to go home and bake. Kids loved the process of finding the physical ingredients. They carefully listened to each instruction given by Annabel - if she said clean the bench - then they would "clean" the screen!The centre has only just opened with kids now successfully completing the baking of biscuits and cakes every day. One interesting and unexpected result is that they are running baking races to see who can complete the task the quickest!