Belle & Wissell’s new interactive media experience—the Tribute Wall, located at UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering—invites the next generation of innovators to the new Bill & Melinda Gates Center. The video wall’s distinct ambient and story modes welcome visitors of all ages and interests.

The Tribute Wall’s abstract visualizations provide a tranquil, yet active, backdrop for the Center’s bustling foyer. When a visitor approaches, story cards (prompted by embedded motion sensors) automatically appear, offering engaging narratives with the tap of a finger.

Bill Gates views Tribute Wall content during the new Center's Dedication Event in February 2019.

Bill Gates views Tribute Wall content during the new Center’s Dedication Event in February 2019. Credit: Matt Hagen/Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering


Visitors can explore a vast selection of stories pertaining to Computer Science & Engineering (CSE), sorted into five themes: CSE at the University of Washington, Diversity in the field, Innovation in the Pacific Northwest, and the accomplishments of Bill & Melinda Gates and Paul G. Allen.

These final two topics trace a familiar Pacific Northwest history. Though it was founded in Albuquerque, Microsoft was born and built in Seattle. Bill and Paul first met at the Lakeside School Programmers Club, where the boys—then age 14 and 16—bonded over a love of computing. With help from the Lakeside Mothers’ Club, the students purchased a Teletype Model 33 and access to a GE timesharing computer. These early experiences laid the foundation for Bill and Paul’s decades-long collaboration. 

Bill Gates addresses attendees, retelling his and Paul Allen's early exploits at the UW Computer Science & Engineering Department.

Bill Gates addresses attendees, retelling his and Paul Allen’s early exploits at the UW Computer Science & Engineering Department. Credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington


Listen to an excerpt from Bill Gates’ remarks here.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Center was made possible by a group of local philanthropists and early Microsoft employees, affectionately dubbed the “Friends of Bill & Melinda.” Their investment will help the Allen School continue its work furthering diversity in the field. Already the Allen School is a leader among universities, with twice the national average of women graduates in CSE. Outreach to K–12 students, programs for disabled, Eyes-Free, and hard-of-hearing or Deaf communities, and women’s mentorship groups are some of the ways the Allen School is building a more representative field. 

Some smaller visitors learn about CSE at the  Tribute Wall.

Some smaller visitors—perhaps future Allen School students—explore the Tribute Wall. Credit: Hank Levy/Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering


Belle & Wissell built a CMS to allow for easy updating and additions to Tribute Wall content. Stories refresh every quarter, including news from the Allen School on the undergraduate community, award winners, and new research from graduate students and faculty.

Belle & Wissell joined Mark Bashore and Katrina Crawford of Yonder on the experimental web experience, RadioEight. With support from the Gates Foundation, RadioEight aims to enhance our international community through universal experiences: the subconscious dreams of children.

The web experience opens with an introduction to the project.

The web experience opens with an introduction to the project.


RadioEight collects dreams from children around the world, inviting users to expose the commonalities—and differences—among them. A corresponding video podcast with themed episodes of dream accounts, curated ambient tracks, and transcribed translations can be accessed on all mobile devices at, or via iTunes.

When a dream is selected, the audio recording (accompanied by text transcription) plays.

When a dream is selected, the audio recording (accompanied by text transcription) plays.


Podcasts present a single theme, curating dream accounts from the larger web experience. Each episode features ambient sounds and music.

Podcasts present a single theme, curating dream accounts from the larger web experience. Each episode features ambient sounds and music.


The immersive web interface is meant to evoke dreamscapes and neuropathways, and features an original soundtrack of music and ambient sounds. Belle & Wissell designed and built the site, employing 3D simulation and particle systems.

Dreams are color-coded by geographic region.

Dreams are color-coded by geographic region.


Kids ages 7–13 are encouraged to submit their own dreams to this experience; visit for instructions on how to participate. Check out RadioEight’s video podcast here.

An elegant and enlightening new building opened to the public on July 19th in Pittsburgh. This space was designed for a particular purpose: orienting visitors with interactive wayfinding, and connecting visitors to The Frick Pittsburgh’s exciting collections of art and artifacts. Across their campus, visitors can explore an art museum, a car & carriage museum, and the splendid historic mansion (Clayton)—where famed Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick and his family resided.

The Frick invited Belle & Wissell to the team in 2012 to craft digital wayfinding and participatory educational experiences for the new orientation center. In collaboration with lead architect Jon Traficonte from Boston architects, Schwartz/Silver, and The Frick’s internal team—Belle & Wissell designed and engineered a suite of interactive projects that are all gracefully featured in the building’s interior design.

The Frick Multiplex is a media installation made up of three large displays that present exhibition and event information as well as admissions and membership content.

The Frick Multiplex

The Frick Multiplex

Frick CollectionView is an installation of large, adjacent multi-touch tables where visitors can manipulate and share highlights of The Frick collection. Kids can also explore categories such as special collections and even categories made just for their age group.

Collection View

Collection View

StoryView is a system of Frick stories presented through an interactive book-like interface on a set of four iPads (in the Learning Lounge area). Each story is accessed via a visual timeline interface that contains Frick scrapbooks and a range of media presentation, with stories crafted by The Frick’s education and curatorial teams.

The Frick Story View

The Frick Story View

The Frick Interactive Map is a touch-based wayfinding interactive that presents an overview of the campus, previews Frick buildings and displays, and demonstrates the best routes (and estimated walking times) for each.

Through this interactive orientation center, Frick Pittsburg’s visitors are now better connected with the array of museum offerings and participate in the learning environment to create lasting memories.

The Frick Interactive Map

The Frick Interactive Map

Learn more about The Frick Orientation Center from these articles:—Historical-Center-announces-new-Orientation-Center-opening-

See more images on Belle & Wissell’s project page.

Belle & Wissell (in partnership with Dog Green Productions) has created a suite of new interactive media projects for three new visitor centers in Europe—all are new initiatives from the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC). Project previews are now available on the Belle & Wissell website.

As part of the 70th anniversary of the Allied Forces’ Normandy invasion in 1944, ABMC has just opened the Point du Hoc Ranger Memorial (Normandy, France), where the dramatic multimedia story is told: Army Rangers heroically fought and scaled the massive bluffs and took out the Germans’ long-range guns—having a significant impact on the outcome of the invasion. President Obama is expected to visit in early June as part of the 70th anniversary festivities.

Rendering of walkway to the new visitor center at Pointe du Hoc

Rendering of walkway to the new visitor center at Pointe du Hoc, from

On Memorial Day in Cambridge, England (1 hour north of London), another American visitor center just opened which includes the interactive stories of the Battle of the Atlantic Campaign, The Strategic Bombing Campaign, and a World War II Timeline.

View of memorial at Cambridge, UK

View of memorial at Cambridge, UK

Meanwhile, in the beach town of Nettuno, Italy (1 hour south of Rome), another new Rome-Sicily Visitor Center opens, and includes multiple interactive campaigns and timelines–among traditional exhibit elements.

Rome-Sicily visitor center rendering

Rome-Sicily visitor center rendering, from

Visit the American Battle Monuments Commission website for information about visiting these memorials.Project previews are now available on the Belle & Wissell website.

The Belle & Wissell’s team released their new website this week, presenting the studio’s collection of over 90 projects across multiple mediums including media experiences, interactives, retail & edition projects, and exhibitions. This occasion also marks a 10-year milestone since the studio began in 2003 (initially known as Gabe Kean Design).

The new website includes tailored experiences for desktop, tablet, and mobile visitors.

Explore the new Belle & Wissell website.

imgresBorn has officially retired but with a new site that archives all the work that was produced by the boundary-breaking publication. The “facilitators” of Born, Gabe Kean of Belle & Wissell (Born’s founder and artistic director), Anmarie Trimble (editor) and Scott Benish (online curator) were all involved, and the design and development teams at Belle & Wissell, Co., brought the project to completion.

See the feature on the Communication Arts website.

Born: 15 Years of Art + Literature

Born: 15 Years of Art + Literature


Contact: Gabe Kean
Belle & Wissell, Co.
206 322 7908 x300

Seattle, WA – September 17, 2013 - Born Magazine sprang to life in 1997, when the Internet was just beginning to unfurl as a cultural force and storytelling medium. After 15 years of publication, Born’s all-volunteer team of editors and curators has written the final chapter on the magazine’s web-based marriage of literature and poetry with visual and interactive arts.

But they are not closing the book. They leave for posterity “15 years of art + literature,” an archive of 419 projects developed for Born by more than 900 contributors at:

These include lauded interactive designers such as Erik Natzke and Joshua Davis, and a diverse slate of established and upcoming writers, including Edward Hirsch, Bruce Smith, Nick Flynn, and Monica Drake.

Born's new website

Born’s new website

The pioneering magazine was founded in the mid-90′s as a web-based ‘zine with traditional features and reviews, but quickly evolved into showcase interactive pieces. It helped set the standard for online publications and opened entirely new avenues of artistic collaboration.

“Born took the left-justified, typographically-constrained, mind-forged manacles of texts and made them visions, and gyres, and new architectures of color and shape and movement,” says poet Bruce Smith, recipient of the 2012 William Carlos Williams Award and Born contributor. “It made new dreams.”

Born’s story will also be captured in a hybrid multimedia/book project being developed in collaboration with magazine founder Gabe Kean’s Seattle-based design studio, Belle & Wissell. The book’s interactive preview was honored in the 2011 Communication Arts Interactive Design Annual and was a finalist in the 2011 SXSW Interactive Awards. The preview’s creative use of Adobe InDesign CS5 is an example of how Born has creatively leveraged technology to enable the highest levels of interactive art achievement.

Visit the book preview here:

“Some of Born’s pieces were really amazing and groundbreaking because they showed the immense attention to detail you could bring to web-based interactivity,” says author and Communication Arts emerging media writer Joe Shepter. “It was hard for people to grasp the creative possibilities of the web back then, and Born was one of the earliest online publications to demonstrate its potential.”

Page from Born's interactive book title 417•903

Page from Born’s interactive book title 417•903

Born’s creators are showcasing its work as a collection to provide an ongoing resource for artists, writers, educators, and students who look to the magazine for study and inspiration. Though submissions will no longer be taken, Born’s staff expects the archive will continue to inspire new audiences.


Founded in 1996, Born is an all-volunteer project that brings together writers, artists, and others from diverse fields to create storytelling artworks. Its name reflects the creative process nurtured by collaboration and the bringing together of traditional and new forms of art and literature, diverse media, and emerging technologies. As a non-profit organization, Born is dedicated to the emergence and continuing evolution of art forms that bring together different creative genres.

Its quarterly publication, Born Magazine, launched in 1997 and brought together creative writers and interactive artists to create experimental, media-rich literary arts experienced only through the web. The magazine retired in 2011, and in 2013 launched its complete online collection, available at www.bornmagazine.orgBorn’s exhibit arm, Born Presents, was founded in 2005 and creates exhibits and special projects, including a hybrid multimedia/book retrospective of Born’s work that’s currently under development.

People admiring one of the works from Born's 2005 exhibition in Seattle "Help Wanted: Collaborations in Art"

People admiring one of the works from Born’s 2005 exhibition in Seattle “Help Wanted: Collaborations in Art”



Download a PDF version of the press release.