Marcon builds on Belfast’s maritime past

Marcon builds on Belfast’s maritime past
Jan 2014

Marcon has just completed an ambitious interior fit out of a new permanent exhibition at Belfast Harbour offices which commemorates the city’s 400 year old maritime history.

In partnership with local design company Tandem, we have brought the vision of the exhibition ‘A Port that Built A City’ to reality in four weeks thanks to our teams’ skills set which include specialist joinery and manufacturing.

The high profile new heritage space details Belfast’s emergence as a major port and the city’s subsequent growth and development as an industrial hub, right up until the shipbuilding heyday of Harland & Wolff.

Marcon was responsible for the entire refurbishment of the new Heritage Room which required specialist joinery skills to house valuable historic documents and artefacts which relate to the port of Belfast’s rich heritage. The famous Titanic table, which is on loan to Belfast Harbour from Harland & Wolff, and a stunning new 3.5 m high stained glass window by a local artist, Ann Smith will form centrepieces of the exhibition.

There is also an innovative installation featuring famous past chairmen of Belfast Harbour such as William Pirrie (1847-1858) who opened the Victoria Channel and laid the basis for the development of the modern port, and Robert Thompson (1907-1918) who oversaw the Harbour’s investment in dry docks which allowed the city to become the world’s biggest shipbuilder.

Len O’Hagan, Belfast Harbour’s Chairman, said: It is significant that a local fit-out contractor and local design team have provided the expertise needed to create the Heritage Room at an exhibition which is a celebration of Belfast’s 400 year old maritime history. Belfast led the world with its craftsmanship in the field of industry and the new exhibition will be a permanent showcase of that history and a reminder that this is a maritime city where the tradition of high quality craftsmanship continues in a new age.”

Martin McErlean, Contracts Manager at Marcon, said: “The brief from the Belfast Harbour was to transform an empty room into an inspiring space that reflects Belfast’s proud maritime history. We had our joiners create specialist furnishings to house items of historic significance, some of which included illuminated displays while others had to be alarmed to provide security for the valuable artefact inside. We have forged a successful partnership with Tandem which created many of the designs here in conjunction with our in-house creative team.”

Martin explained the furnishings, manufactured by Marcon, had to reflect the historic period – but with a modern twist to ensure visitors can enjoy an audio and visual experience.
“The installation which details the famous past Belfast Harbour chairmen is set off by a specially made lighting display. While the historic character has been fully retained, we used modern technology, such as LED sheet lighting to ensure this display can be appreciated by visitors.”

The high profile nature of the exhibition also required the team from Marcon to ensure all the furnishings and displays are robust enough to deal with the huge amount of public interest the event will no doubt attract.

Martin added that Marcon and Tandem worked closely throughout the project to ensure the finished product matched everyone’s expectations of the Heritage Room on completion.
Public access to ‘A Port that Built a City’ will be available early in the New Year via an online booking system.

Image Caption above : (L-R) Alan Stewart, Business Development and Marketing Manager, Marcon; Dr Len O’Hagan CBE, Chairman, Belfast Harbour and Andrew Todd, Director, Tandem Design at the official opening of the new Belfast Harbour Exhibition.

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