Gibson International to craft new Invercargill museum experience

The award-winning, New Zealand-owned firm Gibson International has been named as the successful experience designers for Invercargill’s new museum. 

Comprised of three new cultural facilities to be built in Invercargill, Project 1225 is Invercargill City Council’s major infrastructure project and Te Unua Museum of Southland will be the jewel in its crown.

After the existing Southland Museum and Art Gallery was closed to the public in 2018 due to its earthquake risk, Invercargill City Councillors agreed in 2022 to build a new museum on the same site, as well as a museum collection storage facility at Tisbury, and a specialist tuatara enclosure in the animal reserve at Queens Park.

In April, Australian architects fjcstudio, together with Auckland firms Evatt Martin Architects and design Tribe, were selected to design Te Unua Museum of Southland.

Invercargill City Council Group Manager Infrastructure Erin Moogan said it was vital to partner with an experience designer that understood the vision to create an industry-leading destination experience.

“The creation of a new museum for our city is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the concept designs from our architectural team gave us the ‘wow’ factor our community was looking for. We can’t wait for them to see what Gibson International has in store for us,” she said.

“Selecting an experience designer, which will inform how the museum looks, feels, and sounds to our visitors is a crucial piece of the puzzle. We are really excited to have Gibson International on board, and excited for the possibilities for our new museum.”

Founded in 1977, Gibson Group is one of New Zealand’s most renowned exhibition design and production studios, specialising in cultural, heritage, and tourism visitor experiences. It was recognised globally for its innovative use of technology and storytelling, and had been recognised with multiple awards. Gibson International have worked on developments around the world, including the recently completed Te Wharekura, a cultural and marine education space in Auckland.

Gibson International co-owner and project lead Brett Tompkins said the company was delivering the visitor experience for the Dolomite Point Redevelopment Project, at Punakaiki on the West Coast, and had recently completed Te Wharekura, a cultural and marine education space in Auckland, as well as the Ngilgi Cave Ancient Lands Experience, which opens in Western Australia soon. Gibson International also developed Tumu Toka Curioscape in Southland.

“Project 1225, and its Te Unua Museum of Southland redevelopment, builds upon this world-class portfolio of projects. Gibson International is delighted to partner with the Invercargill City Council, and contribute to a vital community asset of international standing,” he said.

“We are honoured to be appointed to such an important project for not only the communities of Southland, but for all of Aotearoa. As a proud mainlander myself, with family across Murihiku, it will be an especially poignant project to work on, too.”

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