Showcases

A physical home for the digital world

Client:

Google

Sector:

Tech & Media

Audience:

SMEs & General Public

An educational experience to put Google at the heart of UK communities

Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. As a traditionally online brand, the challenge Google gave us was to create a physical, immersive learning and education space for their Digital Garage concept. These Garages needed to be spaces where Google could teach digital skills within local communities. Our response was to create a variety of fun, inviting and multifunctional learning spaces.

The client

Google are committed to significantly improving the lives of as many people as possible through various priorities and initiatives. These consist of expanding opportunity through grants and volunteer hours, ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion and looking for ways to advance sustainability through their work. Google also commit to helping those affected by crises through their products, people and partners. This is all alongside their core principle of protecting users online, through industry-leading security, responsible data practices and easy-to-use privacy controls.

The complexity challenge

We had some big considerations when designing these spaces. They had to be welcoming, tactile, comfortable and feel like a place for learning.

The spaces were called “a garage” for a good reason –  they needed to be ready for hands-on workshops, where our audience could come in and learn how to use the digital tools that would help them in business and life.

“Our audience ranged from centenarians sending their first emails ever, to local businesses beginning to engage their customers on social media.”

The intelligence

The set-up times for these pop-up installations were short and the spaces themselves posed their own challenges. There were often narrow corridors and small doorways to navigate, so we needed the installations to be adaptable and suitable for ‘going on tour.’ Our designers took their spatial experience alongside cues from the Garage concept, to keep our designs clean and low-fi.

The solution

The first commission on this project was for pop-up installations in civic buildings. We used pops of the familiar Google colours and applied them to raw, untreated textures of metal, plywood and peg boards. This allowed us to create a welcoming, tactile space, which was clean and low-fi as designed, which kept the Garages recognisably on brand for Google. We kept the installation modular and by using hardy materials, this resulted in a robust, affordable setup that travelled beautifully and could be re-installed without losing its lustre.

Our pop ups toured 7 locations across the UK and offered classes on everything from teaching centenarians to send their first emails, to helping local businesses engage their customers on social media.

Check out the video below of one of the Google Garage installations.

The outcome

Every time, in every location, we delivered a fresh and friendly environment that opened to the public on schedule, with not a minute wasted. Google saw huge interest and uptake from the public. Classes were constantly in high demand, with diaries booked up throughout the tours.

Google received really positive feedback from visitors and participants, while many visitor success stories were posted in-store. Google also filmed some SME stories. Check out the example below.

As a result of the success of the pop-up tour, we were commissioned to fit out 4 high street stores as Google Garages. Our exhibition-building expertise allowed us to complete the installation in a matter of days, which is unusually fast for this kind of retail space.

We were then tasked with making the Google Garage concept accessible to those who don’t live in a big city. We did this by refurbishing an old Routemaster bus and touring it around smaller rural and coastal towns. We made the Google bus a sociable space, combining nostalgic charm with smart design. We also ensured classes in the bus would be accessible to those with a variety of needs.