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Immersive experiences

We speak with the team behind some of the world's most impressive immersive experiences…

SuperyachtNews speaks with Immersive, an interdisciplinary creative studio that combines art, science and technology. Immersive has been the creative brain behind some of the world’s most renowned installations and events, as well as having an increasingly impressive footprint within the world of bespoke digital art and experiences. Immersive’s impressive record includes the 2020 World Expo Mobility Pavilion, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, BMW NEXTGen, London 2012 Olympics and Eric Prydz.

“There’s a lot of people doing video art today, there are also a lot of digital artists now within the NFT world that are creating their own versions of art. However, what we do is create work that is also experienced, which is why the work that we do is so well suited to the superyacht world,” starts John Munro, CEO and chief creative officer of Immersive. “We understand the client, we think about the people that they are and we think about how the experience is going to feel in a year, 10 years and beyond. We create experiences that are living and breathing, without being too intense. We’ve told stories over metres or kilometres in terms of space, but regardless of the scale what we do is create spaces that you can’t become tired of looking at because it is subtly changing all the time.”

The 2020 World Expo Mobility Pavilion

The 2020 World Expo is currently hosted by Dubai and is open for six months from first of October, 2021. Alif – The Mobility Pavilion, designed by Foster & Partners, tells the story of the past, present and future of human mobility in a three-act immersive experience. Immersive realised and created visual and interactive content for the largest installations in Act 2: Mobility in the Present Day and all creative content in Act 3: The Future of Mobility, working in close collaboration with EXPO, EMAAR, MET Studio, ALEC Fitout, and WETA Workshop.

Immersive was also asked to create immersive audience experiences for both the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2012 edition of the games held in London’s Olympic Stadium. Working alongside TAIT Technologies, it transformed the stadium’s seating into a giant video screen using 70,500 pixel tablets, which played bespoke animations mapped by our custom-made media server Ai. This large-scale installation was complemented by further animations for five Spice Girls London taxis, four Freddy Mercury moving projection screens, Coldplay’s live stage production and all of the stadium’s IMAG screens.

“On the private side, there are many levels to what we do. In the first instance, it may be the case of a client commissioning a slight refurbishment and turning a wall into a beautiful large-scale moment or vista. Within a single canvas we can have multiple layers and types of content,” continues Munro.

In the instances that Immersive has been commissioned a smaller scale project, Munro impresses that the key difference between Immersive’s experiences, when compared to more typical digital art, is the pains taken to ensure that the art in its various digital formats complements the hours of design and labour that have already gone into an interior fit-out. How does the quality of the light work with the materials? How does the whole project work together and synchronise at different times of the day? How does the installation work with the design of the rest of the vessel?

“However, our most profound work is created when we are given the freedom to design an environment that happens over multiple decks, moments that happen over multiple spaces all at once. That’s when we can start to really create fantastic experiences. [The extent of the work] is based on how experiential the client or the interior designer wants to be. We can create something that is essentially an immersive cinema, something that can change the entire mood of the vessel across multiple floors, that is something that we can visually script in a way that it would never be the same. Alternatively, we can create something that is hyper-refined and minimal that is built into the situation, embedded so as to be subtle. While this may seem wide-ranging, an immersive theatre to a piece of art in the world, [that is the scope].”

One of the challenges of digital art is that for the layman, or indeed the average UHNWI, it can be hard difficult to understand the scale and potential of the technology and the creativity. One can easily imagine large screens, but the subtlety and the art created by Immersive, and others of their ilk, can be hard to comprehend. Another one of the challenges, which is experienced by all manner of businesses through the superyacht market, is the difficulty of being able to showcase completed superyacht projects due to the high degree of privacy that is required.

London 2012 Summer Olympics

“Your hands are slightly tied in that respect because of the amount of privacy that we offer,” says Munro. “How do we go about showing our work? Some people show work through NFTs, through having a space somewhere in the metaverse, or they may have a gallery exhibition. We’ve got a gallery exhibition in December in Shanghai. That’s one way we are able to showcase what we can do, but because of how hyper bespoke our work is, really the best way for people to engage with us is to trust our heritage in terms of what the business has achieved and for them to call us and discuss the project.”

That digital art will play an increasingly large role in superyacht projects is somewhat inevitable, but there are ways of doing things. Like everything else in the superyacht world, the expected minimum standard is excellence and Immersive provides the standard of digital creative experience that the superyacht market should be striving for. However, the challenge of educating a conservative marketplace on what the possibilities of digital art are remains pressing.

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