The Utah Office of Tourism received funding for a new welcome center in St. George, Utah. As the creative and design lead for the office, I was tasked as project manager and designer, working alongside our agency of record, Struck, and the architecture firm building the welcome center, CSRA Architects.
The first step was to research and define the “problem”. What are the primary uses of this space? Where are travelers coming from? What information are they looking for? I took a three-day research trip down to St. George for a site visit and some traveler observing and research. I shadowed the current welcome center, visited Zion National Park to gain the perspective of both the visitors and the employees fielding and answering questions, met with the owners of the new Springdale Visitor Center and simply spent some time with my brain and my sketchbook out in nature. After a presentation of my findings, we defined four primary needs for the function of the new space: 1. Information/trip planning; 2. Storytelling; 3. Rest and refresh; 4. Merchandise/booking
Alongside these four primary goals, it was important to create a space that was timeless, but felt modern. A space that could be adaptable to future technology and a space that was mindful of the environment, both from a design and sustainability perspective.
Next, we needed to examine the existing parameters. What is our budget? What is the approved exterior design? How much space are we working with? What technology is available and how can we utilize existing data and content? Who are our stakeholders? Are there any specific regulations?
Prior to my project involvement, an exterior and site plan had already been approved. This established how much space we had to work with. Brent and I looked at what the "musts" and "wants" were. The musts included an information desk, merchandising, brochure racks, a water station, a concierge/booking counter and sitting space.
The wants included a kids area, maps, an information kiosk, a coffee station, and a rotating exhibit space.
As a designer, I find it easier to think laterally and edit a big idea. Best case scenario, what could this be? What does it’s full potential look like? I worked with Brent Watts at Struck to draft several interior design concepts as we explored some really exciting and innovative ideas. These are presented below.