When Design Meets Surf Culture: Ericeira, Europe’s First Surfing Reserve, Opens an Interpretation Centre

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The Ericeira World Surfing Reserve, experimentadesign and ALTA_International Creative Alliance developed the interpretation centre as part of the Ericeira Tourism Office renovation

An innovative interpretation centre is developed by experimentadesign and ALTA_International Creative Alliance for the Ericeira World Surfing Reserve. Its main objective is to present and explain the reserve and its main attributes: the 7 waves and their characteristics, the biosphere, the meteorological composition, the flora and fauna and the facilities. The detailed visualisation of data about the natural characteristics and surf conditions of the area is made possible by the close interweaving of design and technology. Via an innovative interactive video-mapping system combined with customized apps the visitors can explore this information in an accessible way. This is a milestone in terms of the transmission of complex geographical, meteorological and oceanographic data in surf reserves.

An interactive interpretation centre meeting surfers’ needs

The development of the interpretation centre is part of an overall renovation project of the Ericeira Tourism Office conducted by experimentadesign for the Municipality of Mafra. Since the proclamation of Ericeira as the first World Surfing Reserve in Europe and the increase of this sport and tourism in the area it has become important to provide information meeting the specific needs of the public. The Interpretation Centre gives valuable insight into the best surfing spots. Several means of communication show for each wave the best conditions regarding the tide, wind and swell based on past meteorological information. Furthermore, the characteristics of the seabed, wave and break are also given, and visitors can explore the biosphere (climate, vegetation and species) and the facilities of the area.

In order to come up with a solution experimentadesign implemented a user-centred design strategy in which several designers and an architect were invited to participate: André Lopes, Manuel Amaral Netto, Marta Coelho and Pedro Falcão. Detailed research was undergone to comprehend the full context of the area in terms of the past and the present. Interviews were held with surfers, inhabitants and visitors. These testimonials, containing experiences, advices and tricks, can be seen in the Interpretation Centre as well. Furthermore, the Centre provides up to date information regarding wave height, strength and intensity.

The information is transmitted via an advanced communication system, containing among others video-mapping, developed by ALTA_International Creative Alliance. This system is comprised of an interactive table with a bathymetric relief of the Ericeira World Surfing Reserve and ipads with information of the seven waves. A dynamic and playful interface encourages the public to participate and gain knowledge.

Ericeira – World Surfing Reserve

Ericeira is the first World Surfing Reserve in Europe and the second one in the world. This was officially awarded by the U.S. organization Save the Waves Coalition in 2011. The selection criteria for this notification comprise of: the quality and consistency of waves in terms of surfing, support of the local community, the protection of natural resources and to what extent it enhances the international recognition of the heritage.

experimentadesign

experimentadesign is the Portugal-based platform for design, culture and architecture. Its field of action is contemporary cultural production, observed from an international and multidisciplinary perspective.

ALTA_International Creative Alliance

Alta _ International Creative Alliance is a company devoted to the design and production of creative contents using cutting edge mix-media for a wide-range of commercial and cultural platforms, companies and cities.

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