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Interactive Philanthropic Design

The Grand Lodge of Antient, Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland, a Category A listed building, is one of few buildings to still retain its original use, within the context of George Street, in the City of Edinburgh. The focus of the project was the foyer, it was selected in order to investigate and practise the adaptation of a small interior within a larger building to give it a new purpose, function and/or significance; In this case to provide an interior intervention that would assist in increasing the public engagement with the Grand Lodge year-round.  

The Proposed Initiative

The proposed solution addressed two factors that supplemented to the lack of engagement with the Grand Lodge; The outward perception of the society and the foyer lack of obvious Masonic symbolism. 


The outward perception was used as the design inspiration to deal with the shortage of Masonic representation within the foyer. I proposed an interactive experience where visitors could engage with an embodiment of the Freemasons principles, skills and history.  It would also act as a charity fundraising experience, which would aid in shifting the focus away from any negative connotations associated with the Masons and bring attention to their charitable work. 


The launch of the perception rebrand itself was calculated, the most opportune time being to take advantage of the fact that the Grand Lodge becomes an annual event space for the ‘Edinburgh Fringe Festival’  where the Masons welcome over 70,000 people through the Grand Lodge’s doors.

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The Concept

The concept was inspired by the dynamic nature of perception and how a viewpoint could be changed dependant on perspective. Tactility acting as the catalyst to allow for change, an open invitation to engage. Enlisting one of our primal sense to better understand something that is deemed enigmatic. Taking something that cannot be touched and making it physically real. These models explore how changing our perspective transforms one perceived meaning into another.

The Design Solution

The interactive experience takes on the image of the Masonic symbol, the symbol has been disturbed to obscure its image to create a game that invites visitors to solve the “secret message.” To decipher the message above, three lever mechanisms are supplied as the tools to complete the game. These systems are placed upon a podium that was inspired by the three degrees to become Master Mason. The lever system is a simple mechanism that is universally understood and it references the historical occupation of the Freemasons with a subtle nod to the levers use in stonework. Each lever mechanism is individually and separately unlocked with a £1 snap scan donation, and to be operated in a collaborative effort, in order to decode the "secret societies" message.

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