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GB-Exeter, Devon: The 2020 Vision–Investing in our Welcome. Interpretation Design Services to design cathedral interpretation scheme and Treasures exhibition – expired

Competitive Contract Notice: GB-Exeter, Devon: The 2020 Vision–Investing in our Welcome. Interpretation Design Services to design cathedral interpretation scheme and Treasures exhibition

Awarding Authority: Dean & Chapter of Exeter Cathedral, 1 The Cloisters, Exeter, EX1 1HS, United Kingdom. Tel. 01295 702600. Email: architects@acanthusclews.co.uk
https://www.acanthusclews.co.uk. Contact: Camilla Finlay

Contract Type: Interpretation design services; 3D, 2D, AV, interactive design; interpretation & copy writing services


Over the last 5 years the team at Exeter Cathedral have produced a comprehensive masterplan for the Cathedral and its surroundings with a vision for renewal over the next decade.

Following a successful stage 1 application to the National Heritage Lottery Fund, Exeter Cathedral plans to submit a stage 2 application in August 2021. A capital project will transform the East End, Lady Chapel and Chapter House. It will radically improve accessibility through installation of a new level-access cloister and new toilets including a changing place; reduce our carbon footprint and improve visitor comfort with efficient heating and lighting and sound; and conserve and repair our internationally significant medieval misericords, Chapter House ceiling and wall paintings, and building fabric in the areas affected. Toilet, shop and café facilities will be relocated and improved and new visit-driving experiences and opportunities for community engagement will be created through the implementation of the Interpretation Plan and Activity Plan.

Exeter Cathedral, its stories and many treasures belong to the people of Devon, but it is currently failing to attract and engage them effectively. The Cathedral’s ambition is to inspire a wider audience across Devon, the South-West and beyond to discover, enjoy and create lasting memories of the magnificent Cathedral and its internationally important architecture, stories and treasures. The ambition is to improve welcome and engagement, to grow visitor numbers and to diversify the visitor profile, attracting more diverse volunteers and reaching every child in Devon in the next 10 years through high quality interpretation, activities, training, outreach and partnerships.

In particular, families and younger adults have been identified as under-served audience segments and the interpretation plan seeks to address this through the stories we tell and the way we tell them, while continuing to appeal to our existing audience and the experiences they value.

This contract is to design the permanent interpretation scheme for Exeter Cathedral. The scope includes design of interpretation for:

  • the approach to the Cathedral
  • the Cathedral interior including the main building, new cloister and Chapter House and
  • an exhibition of Cathedral treasures in the Pearson Gallery (approx. 160m2)

As well as the 2D and 3D interpretation, we intend to create a multimedia app as part of the interpretation strategy. We anticipate procuring the design of this element separately, however, should you wish to manage this as well as the main interpretation design, please indicate in your submission.

We anticipate the budget for interpretation will break down:

  • Cathedral approach & interior: £130k
  • Multimedia app and content: £60k
  • Treasures exhibition: 00k

The budget must cover all interpretation costs including fees, copy/script writing, expenses, asset rights, showcases, production and installation of all elements.

Expressions of interest are sought for the design contract at this time. All interpretation designers who express an interest in the contract will be issued the brief and invited to submit a tender.

CPV Codes:

  • 45212350 - Buildings of particular historical or architectural interest.
  • 92520000 – Museum services and preservation services of historical sites and buildings.
  • 92521000 – Museum services.
  • 92521100 – Museum-exhibition services.
  • 79415200 – Design consultancy services.
  • 79930000 – Specialty design services.

NUTS Codes: UKK4 - Devon

Main Site or Location of Works, Main Place of Delivery or Main Place of Performance: Devon,

Reference Attributed by the Awarding Authority: 18_187-75

Estimated Value of Requirement: Category I: 50K to 100K

Deadline for Expression of Interest: 12/3/2021 14:00

Address to which they must be sent: Acanthus Clews Architects, Acanthus House, 57 Hightown Road, Banbury, OX16 9BE, United Kingdom. Tel. 01295 702600. Email: architects@acanthusclews.co.uk
https://www.acanthusclews.co.uk. Contact: Camilla Finlay

Other Information: All interpretation designers who submit an expression of interest by 12 March 2021 will be issued the brief and invited to Tender. Tenders will be appraised on quality and value for money. Tender submissions must include:

Outline your overall design approach, demonstrating that you have understood our audience’s needs and the interpretation plan.

  • Including some initial ideas on the individual elements you would propose
  • Including some example visuals

Design fees

  • Breaking down fees for each element and design stage. N.B. there will be a break clause after Stage 1 (Concept) in case the NLHF stage 2 bid is unsuccessful
  • Any subcontractor costs
  • Breaking down staff costs detailing the amount of time input the role will require and the day rate


  • Indicate if you propose to undertake/subcontract the multimedia app development as well as 2D and 3D design (N.B. there is no requirement for the interpretation designer to take on this work package)


  • Including brief biographies of the key people you propose work on the project
  • Any subcontractors you intend to nominate

A brief background to / history of your company, including:

  • Year established, registered company number and registered company address
  • Summary of turnover and profit for the last three years
  • Number of employees by type, i.e. admin, management, sales, Directors, supervisors, technicians etc
  • Details of any parent companies and subsidiaries;
  • Details of any legal action taken against the company in the last five years

Experience, images and examples of relevant previous work

  • Demonstrating experience of similar contracts undertaken within historic environments
  • Scope of skills and services available and Industry accreditations / credentials / relevant experience
  • Details of three references we may follow up

The deadline for submission of Tenders will be 5pm on Friday 9th April 2021.

Suitable for VCO: No
Procedure Type :OPEN
Period of Work Start date: 03/05/2021
Period of Work End date: 01/08/2022
Is this a Framework Agreement?: no