What is an immersive experience?

The definition, as recorded on Dictionary.com, is:

Noting or relating to digital technology or images that actively engage one's senses and may create an altered mental state.

Surely there's more involved than that?

For us the word immersive means so much more than this definition allows. It is the essence of our work and lies at the heart of everything we do. For us, immersive experiences are the past, present and future of design, and we have embraced this movement wholeheartedly. Creating an immersive experience supports the notion of storytelling in its most basic form, for every story should be believable regardless of how fantastical it may sound. Immersive design transports you from a pane of reality to a pane of another life, giving the opportunity to leave one’s persona at the door and to step into an alternative world.

People in drag
Images courtesy of Quintessentially & Co.
Photography ©JamesStack | Design ©TheEventsMill
People in fancy dress
Images courtesy of Quintessentially & Co.
Learn about all hair, makeup and wardrobe trends and inspiration here

Nostalgic Experiences

Immersive experiences can be long, short, complex or simple. They can throw you about, turn you upside down, make you see double or give you absolute clarity.  An immersive world can trick the senses, bewitch the mind and summon emotions.  Nostalgia is its best friend, calling upon memories that create new sensations.

Telescope, Wireless Radio, Table Globe and Flowers on Plinth
Photography: www.themakers.co.uk

What is an Immersive Experience?

A Window into Times Gone By

Immersive experiences give way to experience itself for it is a multisensory adventure that takes you somewhere you’ve never been before, traversing time and space. A window into times gone by, times that are and times that will be.

What is an Immersive Experience?
Photography: ©Satureyes

Exceptional Design

Any design can benefit from having a theme, especially when creating experience design, but there is a huge difference between referencing an era or tokenising a movement from the past – such as Art Deco or Masquerade – where props are used and matched with lighting as well as well-known design references, compared to a truly believable interpretation where you actually feel like you have transported back in time.

The difference lies within the design itself, the believability of the set design and authentic props from that era itself. Of course, the best starting point is discovering your location and choosing an authentic Gatsby-like party venue - the top pick of Art Deco venues in London is going to be a great place to start on your journey.

Searching for luxury Mayfair venues? Check out our blog post for inspiration.

Be Authentic

You can choose to give a glimpse into the design, perhaps by simply having flapper dancers wondering around the room with huge feather props, or you could choose to disregard the clichéd expectations and showcase the real spirit of a 1920s cocktail party, with pieces from the era itself. By widening your search, you will easily find that there are suppliers who offer this authenticity, which ensures your design will be immersive because it is a real time-capsule and not a clichéd reproduction.

Technological Enhancements

Of course, there are many tools that can help you reach immersive qualities in your design. Augmented Reality Technology, is a great example of how you can easily transport the user into a new world, simply by wearing an oculus (augmented reality glasses). The advancements in virtual world technology and smart glasses technology are entirely believable, often used as a tool to convey ideas, sell concepts and enhance gamification experiences. We live in a world of instant gratification and this immediate transportation appeals to our insatiable demand for new discoveries.

Man using Oculus equipment
Photography: ©StephaneBernard ©Unsplash
Paramount Picture’s Interstellar ~ 4D Oculus Rift Experience by Thinkingbox

Physical Immersion

Creating a physical world that is believable requires a different type of thought and careful planning. Set design has always been a fantastic way to portray different eras and to convey aesthetic detail, reliant on our hand skills to make each design beautiful and realistic. The added advantage of technologies such as CNC cutting and engraving means that design can be enhanced with detail and motifs authentically sourced from history, applied in a contemporary way.

There are wonderful sensory theories which can add a whole other layer of curiosity and intrigue, again aiding the believability of your immersive experience.

Library book installation with graphic showing British bulldog

Specialist CNC laser cutting suppliers are available to help add design variety. By including this type of detail more authenticity can be reached within a theme and more textural variety can be established, thus establishing more immersion. The example here shows a design we produced where we wanted to extend the library in the background but to add unique design detail and apply these bespoke panels, thus mimicking the surroundings and creating a seamless blended design. By doing this, as designers, we are able to work in Grade 1 listed venues where we are tasked in working in prestigious, protected environments.

Multi-Sensory

It is also important, when planning an immersive experience or a multi-sensory event, to consider how each of the senses will be tapped into throughout your experience; multi sensory experiences are joyful (and incredibly popular) for the audience because the impact of the senses can be overwhelming, triggering and emotional. It’s not enough to just have a visually stimulating set design (or even something as simple as a multi-sensory experience room or multisensory escape room), but to consider olfactory sensations, taste experiences and textural variation.

For example, frequency can alter our taste buds and if served with champagne can make the beverage taste sweet or bitter, depending on how high or low the frequency being heard is. There are wonderful sensory theories which can add a whole other layer of curiosity and intrigue, again aiding the believability of your immersive experience.

Furthermore, smokes, spritzes, scents, oils, atomisers and natural habitat can offer curiosity to menu design; play with nature to provide bountiful sensory enhancement.

So, whilst it is critical to consider the senses when producing gastronomy - sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch - also consider elevations and enhancements, because the human capacity to remain curios and new specialist fields of neuroscience and cognitive psychology have offered new perspectives of understanding of what happens in our brains when other senses and experiences are stimulated.

And it's these discoveries which have seen the impact of a brand loyalty increase by 30% when more than one sense is engaged and a massive 70% when three senses are tapped into. Simply put, your experiences must be multi-sensory if you want to engage and build customer loyalty.

Wooden table, glass plate, silver cutlery, flowers on table
Photography: ©AndThenSheClicked | Design ©TheEventsMill
Guests eating dinner, whale prop, box with smoke
Photography: ©AndThenSheClicked | Design ©TheEventsMill

We have produced the best immersive experiences in London (such as Come To Bed at The Savoy, an immersive theatre London extravaganza never seen before (see below or the case study here) but we have also had the pleasure of producing work for some of the worlds leading brands who see the value of multi-sensory, immersive branding experiences. Creating an authentic link that transports customers into the product itself, thus creating a unique and entirely personal attachment ensures that each experience, and therefore the links to their specific product, can be sustained as a memory which made an impact in that moment. So, Immersive experiences UK or the world? We can help!

Video Production: ©JohnNassari

Immersive experiences offer so much more than a glimpse into something; you are literally thrust into the narrative and left there to explore in your own time, and when you remerge, your life and perception will have changed. It's what we specialise in and what we love to do. This type of design is the future, especially for brands telling a story.

For advice about where to start on your journey to produce an immersive design or if you have an idea you would like to discuss then we'd love to hear from you. Call 0203 723 0195 or email us at info@theeventsmill.com

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.

Oscar Wilde

Makeup and wardrobe we love is the hot topic for today, with the added bonus of us exploring extraordinary hair too. So let's get cracking and discuss these art forms!

The thing we love about art is that it knows no boundaries and is nonjudgmental. It exists to enrich our knowledge and understanding of perception, giving way to individual appreciation and taste. After all, what may be beautiful to one may be ugly to another; it is an exciting concept. One thing we hope we all share is the appreciation of art and its creation of origin.

Some art is permanent and other types are more temporary in nature. As event professionals we are experienced in creating one-off experiences that may last a day or more, but ultimately we know that our guests have to go home at some point. We rely on photography and video to savour those moments for our artistic achievements though and these time capsules remain as a glance back in time, but sometimes we do wish that there would be a physical reminder of the event which lasts.

One canvas that is even more temporary is the body itself, which is continuously changing from one moment to the next. We are all living examples of art that contribute to a greater population of diversity, with the added benefit of our own angels of beauty that exist to pamper, protect and care for our physical wellbeing. Hairdressers, makeup artists and fashion designers are life’s creature comforts that help improve our lives through the application of their own artistic talents. Today we celebrate these wonderfully creative geniuses by displaying some truly original and fiercely creative and cultural expressions. These are the things we love. 

Creative Hair:

Being able to express oneself through makeup is one of life's greatest joys. There are so many creative techniques to explore and tools available that it is impossible not to find inspiration. From theatrical expressions to simple flourishes, here are some of our favourites.

Creative Makeup:

When it comes to wardrobe the choices are endless and we could choose thousands of examples throughout history. Here are some iconic looks that make us smile from eleganza to classic cuts and more bold statements that literally make your eyes pop out of your head.

Creative Wardrobe:

Of course, being immersive design specialists, The Events Mill incorporates all three disciplines into our work. We have all departments - hair, makeup and wardrobe - within our production departments and our technicians continuously create looks for our team of talented performers. Our production design extends to full prosthetic sculpting and makeup as well as wig creation and costumier design. We work with the very best artists in the industry and we have an award-winning studio based in London but we work worldwide.

Makeup and Wardrobe We Love
Photography: ©JohnNassari | ©CivilisedMess | ©TheEventsMill

If you are considering planning an immersive experience and have a theme idea and need some help in executing your plans then we can help. You can find our more about our creative process here and discover more about our immersive experiences here. We can guide you through the whole process in a creative consultancy by calling 0203 723 0195 or feel free to email us at info@theeventsmill.com

Image credits:

Balmain – Riders on the Storm | Creative Hair for New Look | Dade Freeman | Avant Garde Hair | Hair with Print | Hair with Oranges | Woven Hair | Shades of Ethiopia | Makeup by Sona | Army Man with Makeup | Green Turban | High Fashion Makeup | Boy George | Makeup By Alex Box | Rami Kadi Dress | Christophe Josse Dress | Paper Dress | Beth Ditto Clothing | Grace Jones | David Bowie

Curious about what goes into an immersive experience design? Discover more here. 

“Just out of this world AMAZING. Thank you SO much for producing a party that will go down in history as one of the most memorable in the Beckham’s family history”


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Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, LU7 1AE
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