Storytelling holds a mirror up to the world. While the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) industry is rooted in history and facts, storytelling is an integral part of the museum experience, for stories are what connect us as human beings. At NGX we are inspired by stories from classic children’s literature and science fiction – so much so that we’ve named our workspaces for the iconic landmarks and places in these influential fictional worlds.
It all began with Wonderland — the land to which Alice Kingsley travels to in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This aptly named meeting room is where the magic happens. You can draw many parallels between Alice’s Wonderland and ours: for one, the room has glass walls, and acts as an allusion to the titular Looking Glass in Lewis’ sequel. Wonderland is often used for meetings that involve video calls, giving the room yet another Looking Glass effect, as the webcam acts as a portal to the outside world. Wonderland is also a place of imagination and brainstorming, where the near-impossible may be brought to the table, written on the white boards, and brought to life, much like many of the impossibilities that Alice encounters on her adventures. As is quoted in Alice in Wonderland, “Sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast” — and when in our Wonderland, thinking of the impossible and believing that it can transcend into something tangible is what we strive for.
Just around the bend from Wonderland is a tiny meeting space that we at NGX have nicknamed ‘The Shire’, in honour of the small and cozy homeland of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Frodo Baggins, a hobbit and the protagonist of the classic fantasy series The Lord of the Rings. The Shire is our own Hobbit House, and a place for one-on-one conversation, not unlike the times Gandalf visited either Bilbo or Frodo Baggins for tea or to prompt them to journey across Middle Earth on a quest to save the world. In fact, there has been more than one occasion when an entire team has packed themselves into the Shire just like Bilbo did with the 13 Dwarves at the start of the Hobbit. While we may not encounter Tolkien’s version of wizards on our journey to the launching of a project, you can often find a project manager (with secret dragon slaying powers!), someone from the creative team (dreaming up new worlds to explore) or a real-life tech wizard in our cozy little home that is the Shire, in the progress of completing their quest to bring a project to life.
As an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, when I joined the team as an intern and NGX’s “teenager-in-residence”, I was inspired to join the discussions of naming the rooms after places of magic. Aiding the cause with my enthusiastic knowledge of nerd pop culture, I was thrilled to help name the internal meeting room. King Arthur’s Round Table in his kingdom of Camelot was a natural fit for a room where the team gathers around a Harkness-style table and where all voices are equal. Ever since, our internal meetings take place around Camelot’s Round Table, and everyone, no matter their role within the company, can be equally heard.
These three rooms make up NGX’s primary shared spaces and have the names that are most commonly used within our office jargon. While we may not slay jabberwockies, have hobbits running around the office, or be actual Knights of the Round Table, we think we do something equally unusual: we use innovation, design, and technology to create interactive storytelling experiences — and these room names inspire us everyday, sparking creativity and a desire to pursue the magic in everything we do.
-Emma Doig, Intern & Teenager-in-Residence