Chris Barela
Chris Barela brings a wide range of experience to every zoo, museum and aquarium project he designs. Chris’ early background in commercial graphics and theatrical set design brings clarity and dramatic flair to your exhibits. Sculptor, illustrator and model builder, his artistic digital skills and photo-realistic conceptual work is uniquely vibrant in bringing your proposed projects to life for builders and sponsors.

Chris began designing for zoos and aquariums in 2002 when he created interpretive signs, murals and exhibits for The Living Planet Aquarium’s first location in the Salt Lake City Gateway Plaza. His conceptual planning and design of their major exhibits have included: Journey to South America, The Penguin Research Station, and Animal Superheroes. 
In 2011-2013 Chris served as Art Director for the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, a  136,000 square foot aquarium in Draper, Utah. He designed and oversaw the construction and look of all six galleries with a keen focus on the ‘story’ being told as guests moved through the exhibits. 
Chris also conceptualized and managed the Amazon Rainforest Gallery’s horticulture, including a two-story high jungle environment with free-flight birds and animals. The Aquarium’s animal information and species signs were also designed by Chris with the guest’s experience in mind - creating a vibrant and inviting look via a digital frame system.


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