Kate Dawkins on creating respectful memorial experiences

Having worked on a series of events commemorating pivotal moments in both the First and Second World Wars, the BAFTA-winning designer and creative director discusses balancing light and dark on memorial projects

Amid working on projects for the likes of Elton John or brands such as Range Rover, Kate Dawkins Studio has made a name for itself as the go-to team for creating large scale, high-impact memorial experiences. In the last three years alone, it has worked on two World War One events as well as a commemorative event in June, which marked 75 years since the D-Day landings.

Studio founder Kate Dawkins first worked on a memorial piece for World War I Remembered: Passchendaele, named after the Belgian town where the Third Battle of Ypres took place. The project was several months in the making, and revolved around the Cloth Hall, a building at the heart of the main square in Ypres, which was used as a canvas for some impressive projection mapping. The almost hour-long experience recounted the story of the battle, and saw 58 projectors beam 133,632,000 pixels across the front, clock tower and side facades of the Hall.

“[The soldiers’] families were still around so it was about being very careful and respectful to them, but also making sure it lives on in the … minds of a younger audience,” Dawkins tells CR.