Friday, March 1, 2024

Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy Turns to Cinnabar For Two Leading Edge Visitor Centers

All photos courtesy Cinnabar

San Francisco, USA — Cinnabar Inc., exhibit producer, artisan and fabricator, collaborated with design firm Macchiatto to create the educational exhibits and retail fixtures for two new visitor centers that opened this spring: Lands End Lookout and Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion, both projects of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

Inside Lands End Lookout visitor center, interpretive exhibits, interactives and retail merchandise displays share space

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Inside the Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion, design motifs and colors echo the celebrated span. 

Rather than relegate exhibits and retail to separate areas, the visitor centers blend the two, creating unique, accessible, and educational destinations, which San Francisco Chronicle writer John King described as “learning and commerce both geared to the locale.” Fabrication emphasized the use of sustainable, reclaimed and recycled materials, and a fast-track, design/build methodology.

Cinnabar CEO Jonathan Katz says, “We are pleased to add Lands End Lookout Visitor Center and the Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion to Cinnabar’s museum portfolio and our body of work in the San Francisco Bay Area. The museum/retail hybrid can bring greater attendance and a wider demographic than a traditional interpretive exhibit. We applaud the Conservancy and designer Jeremy Regenbogen of Macchiatto for their vision. “

“Clouds” at Lands End Lookout are of laser-etched cardboard 

Cinnabar is no stranger to iconic projects in the Bay Area – the company also produced the exhibits for the Kimball Museum of Natural History at the new California Academy of Sciences.

Lands End Lookout
Situated on Point Lobos at the main entrance to the California Coastal Trail at Lands End, the visitor center includes 1,200 square feet of display space, with information about the area’s cultural and natural history, and resources for hikers.

Interactive displays and interpretive items, precision-crafted by Cinnabar, engage visitors in the story of the area.

The fortune telling machine at Lands End Lookout

Overhead, suspended “clouds” of corrugated cardboard are laser-etched with custom graphics; a fortune telling machine has magnetic flip-cards, printed with memorable local photos and “fortunes,” that spin around before settling back to lie flush with the tabletop; mounted between sheets of Lexan and illuminated by the huge picture windows are illustrations of the Yelamu Ohlone culture and historical photos of the Sutro Baths and Cliff House; and the “Leave your Voice” interactive encourages visitors to write feedback on cards that are later integrated into the display.

Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion
Marking the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, the 3,500-square-foot Bridge Pavilion, located in the Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza, features a model of the Bridge tower and is filled with Bridge-related merchandise as well as detailed information and history.

Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion: studded with some 1300 threaded rivets custom-cast by Cinnabar to imitate the rivets of the bridge.

The built environment evokes the history, the physical surroundings, and the structure of the celebrated span itself. The walls are studded with some 1300 threaded rivets custom-cast by Cinnabar to imitate the rivets of the bridge. Cinnabar enforced an exacting color matching process to consistently duplicate the bridge’s signature International Orange over a wide range of materials, surfaces and treatments.

Fast-track design/build process
Both visitors centers were built on a fast track using a collaborative design/build process in which the fabricator and producer are involved from the early stages of a project while the design is still fluid. Cinnabar’s background is in building sets for cinema and broadcast, where design/build is customary, and Katz is a leading proponent of it for the museum sector. “Design/build keeps you on schedule and on budget while upholding quality and the design vision,” comments Katz. “It’s a balance of goals and practical requirements that plays to the strengths of the creative team.”

Macchiatto’s Jeremy Regenbogen says, “Often value engineering comes at the end of the project, where difficult sacrifices must be made. Cinnabar’s early involvement meant that we could constantly bounce ideas off them and keep the intent of the design intact.”

Regenbogen adds, “Cinnabar’s broad reaching, in-house expertise in media integration, graphic production techniques, metal fabrication and traditional cabinetry really helped keep the fabrication process efficient and without surprises. Cinnabar matched the design intent exactly, with an incredibly unified look. Whenever we had a thought about how a complex element might be constructed, we discussed it in great detail with one of their experts relevant to the fabrication method we were discussing. We were able to really push the limits of constructability and utilize some nontraditional building materials, making for a truly unique finished product.”

About Cinnabar
Founded in 1982, Cinnabar California, Inc. is one of the entertainment industry’s leading production and fabrication companies, providing specialty fabrication for television, film and themed venues. In recent years, Cinnabar has been at the forefront of developments that have seen the integration of innovative new approaches to the process and production of museum exhibitions. Operating from a 30,000 square foot production facility, Cinnabar is able to provide its clients a complete range of in-house design-build, project management, and manufacturing services. Cinnabar is a licensed General Contractor in California and Nevada, and has held GC registration in other states on an as-needed basis.

About the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit membership organization created to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the experiences of park visitors, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future. Visit

About Macchiatto
With a couple of decades of experience in interpretive storytelling, museum exhibition and retail design, as well as branding, collateral and packaging design, Macchiatto brings a team of extremely well-rounded designers to every project, capable of telling the clients’ stories in new and compelling ways. Visit


Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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