UK–based Sysco has completed an extensive audio-visual installation in a new visitor attraction, the Root Zone at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey. Housed in a cavern within the Wisley Glasshouse, developed by the Royal Horticultural Society, the new Root Zone is an interactive area where visitors can learn about roots and the vital role they play. The Root Zone’s displays help all visitors learn about the interrelation between plants, plant health, and what takes place underground.

The Root Zone’s exhibit coordinator, Nicky Evans, says, “You really do feel as if you are underground here, with technology recreating and explaining roots and their functions. The lighting is low, and the atmospheric soundtrack makes digging and creaking noises.”

A large model of a root system is built into the walls of the area with panels explaining 20 different functions that roots perform. Portholes show the “buried treasures” produced by roots such as food, drugs, and dyes, all conveyed by Dicoll R20T600-OFA1 20” LCD screens running looped media stored on dedicated PC-based image servers.

Interactive games and photographs give an idea of the diversity of root systems and how they operate within soils. Panels stress the dynamic nature of roots, showing how they change as seasons progress and weather conditions vary, with six Dicoll R17L500-RMM1+5W-DVI interactive touch screen terminals provided to reveal a wealth of information.

Sysco director Hugo Roche comments, “The brief called for a high quality, easy to use interactive AV system that would be suitable for RHS Wisley’s visitors who include people of all ages and nationalities, in a unique and richly informative environment. It also had to be a low maintenance design that would perform well throughout the facility’s long open season. It was an exciting and unusual project to be involved with.”