Designing with Flair: A Fresh New Look for the JRA Studio

February 21, 2017

After 10 years of wear and tear, and upon renewing our commitment to Downtown Cincinnati with a new long-term lease, we decided to freshen up our studio with new paint, carpet and accessories. JRA Art Director, David Ferguson, explains the design philosophy behind the look:

"While retaining the unique atmosphere of JRA’s open studio plan, we chose a warmer neutral palette to play off strong paint color accents of Carnival, Peppercorn, Stay in Lime, and Passionate Purple. Designer Rachel Daheim worked with Interface Carpet and designed a basket weave pattern of Skinny Plank carpet with the same color accents in the woven carpet material. New artwork was brought in to provide additional dimension, and images of our past projects brightened up our work space and reminded us why we do what we do everyday. 

All in all, by reassigning the accent palette and juicing up the color intensity, we have given a more jubilant look to our workplace, making our work environment as cutting edge as our design attitude."

Enjoy the photos, or better yet, why not pay us a visit?

 

Tags: JRA Journeys

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Out of This World: Mission Mars Now Open at Space Center Houston

February 16, 2017

...Now anyone can get as close to Mars as any human will, any time soon, by visiting [Space Center Houston]. - Ars Technica

The “next big thing” has just opened at Space Center Houston. The spectacular new Mission Mars exhibit showcases an immersive experience about the red planet and offers an opportunity to peer inside an Orion spacecraft research model, stand close to a giant model rocket and walk on a virtual Mars environment.

Space Center Houston has enjoyed a spate of recent successes. Independence Plaza, which opened in January 2016, helped the center reach a record annual attendance of over one million visitors and captured two Brass Ring Awards at the recent International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo. JRA provided completing planning, design and project management for Independence Plaza.

This new multi-million-dollar Mission Mars interactive exhibit, designed with input from NASA experts, opens as the nonprofit also kicks off its 25th anniversary year. JRA has again provided planning, design and project management.

“This new major exhibit will inspire the next generation of explorers who could one day walk on Mars,” said William T. Harris, president and CEO of the science and space learning center. “Visitors will explore what it takes to travel to Mars, the hardware that will get us to the fourth planet in our solar system and how humans may live and conduct research on the red planet in future decades.”

Space Center Houston worked closely with NASA in the development of Mission Mars. A stunning 4K technology video shows a virtual Mars landscape with rovers exploring the planet, a future rocket launching from Earth and heading for Mars and future astronauts landing. The exhibit puts visitors in the astronaut’s seat of an Orion simulator and allows them to record their own historic messages as they take their first steps on Mars. A collection of three rare Mars meteorites is on display inside the exhibit for a limited time, plus there is a special Mars rock visitors can touch. There are only 60,000 known meteorites on Earth, fewer than 150 are from Mars and most of those are held in private collections.

The future-looking exhibit takes visitors to a Mars landscape and features a look at how Mars and Martians have been illustrated in pop culture; the wealth of potential scientific discoveries to uncover on Mars; the innovation needed to build the most advanced spacecraft; and what returning to earth from deep space involves. Understanding the evolution and formation of Mars is the first step of the journey in the new exhibit. The physical terrain is explored through virtual landscapes provided from an orbiting satellite and surface rovers. The experience allows visitors to leave their footprints on three different types of Mars surfaces, study Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system, and seek evidence of water and water erosion as keys to finding evidence of possible life on Mars.

Visitors are able to peer inside a full-size Orion research model used by engineers from NASA Johnson Space Center and Lockheed Martin. The exhibit includes a magnificent 45-foot 1/8th scale model of the Space Launch System, which will be the most advanced and powerful deep space rocket ever produced. The SLS will use four RS-25 engines to help propel astronauts further into space than any rocket in history. Visitors can walk around one of these engines in the display. Touch-screen activities provide an opportunity to explore Mars, suit up an astronaut and pack for the long trip. Astronauts will face a unique set of challenges to sustain life and conduct experiments deep in the solar system. The exhibit shows how resources will be conserved and what techniques will be used to grow fresh food to sustain astronauts and reduce payload.

NASA’s Office of Education provided a grant through the Competitive Program for Museums, Science Centers, Planetariums and NASA Visitor Centers. These grants are designed to create interactive exhibits to engage the public, students and teachers in NASA-themed science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Lockheed Martin provided the Orion capsule research model, along with financial support for the exhibit construction. Space Center Houston is holding a jubilee celebration all year to honor its 25th anniversary on Oct. 16. The activities include the debut of several new exhibits, special events and a thought-leader speaker series.

For more information on Space Center Houston, please visit www.spacecenter.org. Congratulations to the entire Mission Mars team!

Tags: Project Spotlight

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The Final Fives: Talking Teleportation, Post-Its and the Sound of Music with Katlyn Morris

February 10, 2017

Katlyn Morris

Katlyn Morris

A new year brings new co-ops to the JRA team. This week, we ask five questions (plus a bonus!) of Katlyn Morris, Industrial Design student at the University of Cincinnati's School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP).
 
If I had one extra hour in the day, I would … spend it with my family. Hours are always better spent with them!

I would advise anyone starting out in a creative career to … try everything and anything! Even though I’m just starting out, I’ve found the best part of creative careers is the endless opportunities.

I wish I had come up with … Post-its 

What are your favorite movies? My all time favorite: The Sound of Music

If you could have any super powers, what would they be? To teleport or to fly! It would be a much easier way to travel.

Dream experience design project: American Girl world park—I’ve always loved American Girl dolls, and it would be a childhood dream come true to bring that world to life!

Thank you, Katlyn! We hope you enjoy your time at JRA. 

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Appleton Estate Rum Tour to Pour Out a Blend of Experiences

December 05, 2016

Woody, earthy, balanced, sweet and complex. These are the words often used to describe the world's premium rums. But they can also be used to describe the Appleton Estate Rum Tour, which recently broke ground in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. 

Appleton Estate has the distinction of being Jamaica’s oldest sugar estate and rum distillery in continuous production and is the producer of many of the world’s most premium rums, including the Appleton Estate 50-year-old Jamaica Independence Reserve.

The Appleton Estate renovation project includes approximately 23,000 square feet of new building construction, as well as an expansive outdoor tour of the Estate grounds, distillery, and aging house that highlights the history, ingredients, and process of crafting premium rum. In addition to the outdoor exhibits, guests will also enjoy a welcome theater, “Estate only” custom tasting experiences, a restaurant and lounge area with traditional Jamaican jerk fare, photo opportunities, and a retail store that features exclusive rum offerings. JRA is providing complete planning, design and project management for this attraction, which is scheduled to open in October 2017.

Ready to book your flight (or fill your glass)? Be on the lookout for more updates as construction progress, and check out our Facebook page for more groundbreaking photos. 

 

Tags: JRA Journeys , Project Spotlight

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Emerging Trends in Immersive Design: A 2016 IAAPA Presentation

November 28, 2016

JRA VP Shawn McCoy presents

JRA VP Shawn McCoy presents "Emerging Trends in Immersive Design as part of Museum Day at the 2016 IAAPA Expo.

For the sixth year in a row, JRA Vice President, Shawn McCoy re-capped the blockbuster attractions of 2016 with Thinkwell Principal, Cynthia Sharpe as part of "Emerging Trends In Immersive Design" at the 2016 IAAPA Attractions Expo.

In their presentation, Shawn and Cynthia discovered that guests are craving community as much as personalization, quiet as much as noise, a step back to simplicity as much as modern technology. The result is an ecclectic mix of "Best of the Best" case studies, from London to Chicago, from a hilltop in Barcelona to the phone in your hand. While the techniques may differ, all of these projects aim to tell stories in unique and compelling ways. 

As usual, the session played to a capacity crowd, to the point where dozens of eager audience members were turned away at the door (fire codes - not our fault!). If you were one of them, or if you couldn't make it to Orlando, you're in luck! Shawn was kind enough to record his presentation over the slide deck, so click below and enjoy. 

If you are interested in a PDF version of the slide deck and script, please email Clara Rice at crice@jackrouse.com.

 

Tags: JRA Journeys , JRA Team

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