Knole – designed to impress
Created in one of the rooms added by Thomas Sackville in the early 17th century, the reception set the tone for a visit to this great treasure house.
The choice of materials and bespoke furniture designed by Corvidae and made by Kent craftspeople continue Knole’s long tradition of impressing the arriving guest.
Interpreting Knole’s long and complex history and the significance of its collections presents a number of challenges.
For a start, there are just 13 show rooms, in a palace which is famouly described as a “calendar house” with a room for each day of the year. Then there are its treasures – many of them items of furniture from the Royal Palaces, gained as “perks” of service at court. Put on display and more or less untouched for centuries, many of them are faded and threadbare due to light damage. If they’d been in even occasional use, they would have worn out and been re-upholstered generations ago, but these are the originals – and all the more significant for it.
This room lays out the bones of Knole’s multi-faceted story – in text, images, a tactile, interactive model that vividly illustrates the development of the house and the use of its many areas, and a range of touch-screen interactives.
Accessibility was a guiding principle throughout the whole of the design and development process, with audio and sign language versions of the text in the virtual tour, to an audio-described touch tour of the model.
Bringing Knole’s 550-year history to life in a quick, digestible form is no easy task. Days of painstaking research and writing, in collaboration with the National Trust teams at Knole and in the region, created a script that captures the essence of the house’s remarkable story, and highlights some of its most engaging characters.
Presented by Dr Jonathan Foyle, and enlivened with brilliant animation, the 14-minute film is the perfect starting point to get the most out of a visit to this remarkable house.
Versions with subtitles and British Sign Language are instantly available at the touch of a button for visitors who need them.
The glorious Conservatory became the new route into the visitor reception. Corvidae created blinds to screen off private areas, based on historical illustrations of a royal visit to Knole.