Blog – Blenheim Palace: A Year in Review by Megan Storey-Smith

Posted 29 February 2024 by Anysia Henderson
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“2023 has been a pretty special year for our partnership with Blenheim Palace. From the opening of Adventure Play to the spectacle that was the Oxfordshire Youth Flagstaff restoration project. The Palace team have kept us on our toes presenting new ideas and projects throughout the last 12 months.

Working on over 25 different assignments with Blenheim this year, each one brought its own requirements and challenges. From the installation of a 280 square metre wrap and hoarding during the hottest week of the year to drilling frames into 300-year-old walls during the Oxford Pantry’s revamp. MacroArt has helped to add colour to every corner of the Palace grounds!

One of the biggest goals of our partnership is working with the Palace team to challenge the perception of heritage whilst creating an attraction that everyone can enjoy. From exploring the history of the site to riding the train, the grounds and house are home to many different styles of graphic and branding solution designed specifically with the Palace and its visitors in mind.

A personal favourite this year without a doubt has to be the Bee Train produced in partnership with We Are Bottle on behalf of the Palace and Rowse Honey.

The Palace has been home to a miniature railway since 1955 running through different areas of the grounds and parklands. Branding played a key role within the promotion to raise awareness for the 50 acres of bee-licious wildflower being sown around the estate to improve the bee population. Our brief was to create an eye catching but removable branding package which resulted in a jigsaw puzzle of magnetic panels applied to the outside of the carriages and PVC free informational panels along the station platforms. Not only is the train a fantastic form of travel around Blenheim, but it also created a physical benchmark as to the power of branding.

Adventure Play opened during the summer months designed in a style that celebrates the rich heritage of the 18th century baroque Palace, the surrounding parkland and wider estate. Mark Sutton of Creative Gravy design agency created a new style of branding for the play area that combines bright colours and gentle child friendly symbols. It was then down to our team to create signage solutions that worked with the space and artwork but most importantly with small people in mind that served as a reminder rather than a stern warning.

No years work is without its challenges, and we’ve had our fair share but that is what makes seeing the finished article so gratifying. Installing the Flagstaff wrap was the biggest moment of the year standing with Kelly Whitton (Head of Built Heritage) and the Savvy Construction team during the raising was a career highlight seeing an idea come to life gave Mike and I a great sense of achievement. Listening to the stories of the artwork carefully woven together by Mark to form the final montage was a special moment.

Being able to be part of team that helped the young people of Oxford to have a voice and share their experience of heritage in such a creative outlet will be something I carry with me throughout my career.

Once of the most memorable images was inspired by a young girl’s story of a fish that lived in the lake and when everyone had gone home, and the Palace was quiet she would come to life as half girl half fish, to walk around the Palace learning about its history and meeting with her friends. The imagination that went into this project is unlike any other displayed at the estate and is a true testament to the future of our partnership with Blenheim.

Our collaboration with Blenheim this year has been nothing short of a triumph. Working together to understand vision, intention and the progression being made by the Palace team to push the boundaries within heritage and conservation. If there is a line that could sum up what 2024 has in store for Blenheim and Macro’s partnership it would be …

‘But beware and stay prepared for Blenheim’s artistic community boom!’

Pia (24) – Oxfordshire Youth Flagstaff Poem.”

 

 


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