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

Are you searching for Luxury Mayfair Venues you can hire? We are confident you will have selected the perfect venue by the end of this post!

"It was here in Mayfair, that adjectives such as gracious, elegant, sophisticated and sublime trip off the tongue like coins into a parking meter."

Tyne O'Connell

Did you know that the Egyptian sculpture above the door of Sotheby’s in Mayfair is the oldest man-made object in London dating from 1600 BC? The little black artefact is carved from igneous rock. Some believe it to be still older – perhaps dating back 5000 years.

Sotheby’s Sekhmet
Photography: Rob Wilkinson

Luxury Mayfair Venues You Can Hire - But Remember To Look Up!

Mayfair is one of those areas in London that breathes luxury and elegance in equal measure, full of some of the capitals most treasured restaurants and famous art dealers. You will find yourself traversing the streets of Mayfair, with its private townhouses soaring above your head, amongst the hustle and bustle of London’s most well-turned-out professionals.

It is quite easy to get lost amongst its winding roads, all very similar in character and appearance. How often do we walk with our eyes to the floor, missing hidden details on the streets – you wouldn’t find that Egyptian sculpture easily unless you went looking for it, and certainly if your eyes were glued to the floor! They say it is vital to stare up in London to ensure you witness the abundance of architectural splendour.

Thankfully there are many beautiful treats in the area that are easy to spot. Mayfair has some of the most spectacular, luxury hotels and venues in London. It is a fantastic place to host any event, bringing a sense of charm, long-standing heritage and elegance to experiences.

Our Top 10 favourite Luxury Mayfair venues to hire:

1. Saville Club, W1K 4ER

One of the most notorious members' clubs, the Saville Club has played host to some of history’s most famous literary names including Robert Louis Stevenson, HG Wells, Rudyard Kipling and Yeats, whilst enjoying the musical delights of William Walton and Edward Elgar. This is a venue reaped in British history, offering event spaces including the famous ballroom adorned with a lighthearted manifestation of Louis XVI. This venue is ideal for private parties and for couples who are considering intimate, prestigious weddings venues in glamorous Mayfair.

Address: 69 Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4ER

Luxury Mayfair Venues To Hire
Photography: via https://www.savileclub.co.uk/

2. Dartmouth House, W1J 5ED

Dartmouth House is a venue of national importance, once famous for its collection of Louis IV furniture and object d’art, through to the residence of Lord Dartmouth (6th Earl of Dartmouth) until the war, and more presently as the premises of the English-speaking Union. This venue can accommodate both private and corporate events within its intimate rooms, offering privacy and a great sense of occasion, at one of London’s most respected addresses.

Address: 37 Charles St, Mayfair, London W1J 5ED

Dartmouth House
Photography: via http://dartmouthhouse.co.uk/rooms/

3. The Dorchester, W1K 1QA

The Dorchester is one of the world’s most cherished hotels, known for its association with the royals, celebrities and important figures of historic significance. The venue itself has charming resplendent interiors, with art deco period features running throughout. The ballroom at the hotel is considered one of the prettiest in London and the facilities within the hotel continue to surpass guests’ expectations on every visit.

Address: Park Lane, London W1K 1QA

Luxury Mayfair Venues You Can Hire
Photography: https://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/london/the-dorchester/weddings/

4. Royal Academy of Arts, W1J 0BD

The Royal Academy of Arts is one of London’s most cherished venues, housing some of our greatest artistic treasures, regularly showcasing the most respected exhibitions. Burlington House, situated on Burlington Gardens is an elegant venue space that can be hired in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Arts.

Adress: Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD

The John Madejski Fine Rooms, Burlington House
Photography: via https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/entertaining-and-event-hire-at-the-royal-academy
If you want to book any of these for your next wedding or private events, GET IN TOUCH AND WE CAN HELP >>

5. Sketch, W1S 2XG

Sketch is a venue like no other, centered on a myriad of food, drink and entertainment, curated by the culinary genius Gagnaire. Opened since 2002, Sketch has been known as the go-to place for innovative entertaining, often pioneering new ways of thinking about evening hospitality. The cocktails are to die for!

Address: 9 Conduit St, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG

Sketch London
Photography: via https://sketch.london/

6. The Connaught, W1K 2AL

At the heart of Mayfair lies The Connaught Hotel, a venue reaped in English charm and refined elegance. Built by The Prince of Saxe-Coburg, the original hotel opened as an offshoot of Grillon’s Hotel, owned by the Duke of Westminster. Known for its association with many royals and the famous tenure of Michel Bourdin, Head Chef for 26 years, this hotel will always be one of London’s most cherished.

Address: Carlos Pl, Mayfair, London W1K 2AL

Wedding at The Connaught Hotel
Photography: via https://www.the-connaught.co.uk/meetings-events/weddings/

7. Sexy Fish, W1J 6BR

Mayfair’s coolest venue and the place to be seen at is Sexy Fish, the latest addition to the Caprice Holdings portfolio. Designed by Martin Brudnizki Studio and adorned with artwork from the likes of Damien Hirst, this glamorous venue has a mid-century feel to it. The menu and extensive cocktail list, including the world’s biggest Japanese whisky collection, can be explored at the venue.

Address: Berkeley Square House, Mayfair, W1J 6BR

Sexy Fish London
Photography: via https://sexyfish.com/

8. One Mayfair

Opulent grandeur awaits you at One Mayfair, punctured in the Greek Revival style with a charm that rivals any venue in London. This spectacular space is perfectly located in the sophisticated area of Mayfair, placed as a hidden gem a stone throw from vibrant Oxford Street. This magnificent venue is full of character, historic elegance and has a range of spaces to offer truly unique experiences.

Address: 13A N Audley St, Mayfair, W1K 6ZA

Photography: via One Events

9. Ham Yard Hotel

London’s new kid on the block is the Ham Yard Hotel, a contemporary and very elegant option that offers a range of spaces, beautifully dressed with interesting interiors. This hotel comes with an array of exciting facilities, including The Croc Bowling Alley and their very own theatre. It’s an incredibly exciting venue full of character and charm, situated in the vibrant area of Soho.

Address: 1 Ham Yard, Soho, W1D 7DT

Bowling at Ham Yard Hotel
Photography: via https://www.firmdalehotels.com/hotels/london/ham-yard-hotel/

10. Claridge's

Claridge's Hotel has a history spanning 1800 to the present day and is famous for its elegance, premium service and historical significance. As a popular destination for royalty, heads of state and socialites, this hotel is riddled with character and luxury. Known for its impeccable standards, you can ensure that an experience at Claridge's will be truly spectacular, perfectly serviced and at all times in fashion. The ideal venue to organise a fairytale wedding in the heart of the city!

Address: Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4HR

Bride and Groom
Photography: ©John Nassari Photography | ©TheEventsMill

To discover more venues that we love, please visit our destinations pages for lots of inspiration. If you would like to discuss a private event or wedding, we'd love to hear from you. You can email us at info@theeventsmill.com or call 02037230195 to arrange a free consultation.

“From the moment we met, I knew that Christopher was the perfect person to organise our wedding. His amazingly creative mind has added so many fabulous, fun elements to help us create a wedding with a difference. He has incredible attention to detail and so much experience to draw from, which means he creates a very calm influence and always has things under control. Christopher has taken so much s tress out of the process to date, enabling me to relax and enjoy the process (despite normally being a total control freak). We are really looking forward to what we know will be an amazing event and are so grateful that we found Christopher, as without him, I cannot imagine how much more of a stressful journey it would have been!”


Sash and Russ, Wedding Couple

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