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

What do we mean when we discuss east meets west design fusion? There is something so romantic about the mixture of cultures, traditions, styles and customs that give birth to wonderful design opportunities. One philosophy dubbed ‘East Meets West’ we’ve been asked to produce many times (in many different ways) is the idea of bringing together eastern and western design, marking the moment two cultures come together in harmony, a juxtaposition one might feel entirely incongruous at first, but one which works so beautifully when seen together in reality.

Chinoiserie Wallpaper
Photography via: http://www.lpmbohemia.com/themed-interiors-linings/linings/

Today we are going to focus on a design style which beautifully celebrates the coming together of eastern culture meeting west – chinoiserie. Chinoiserie - a decorative style in Western art, furniture, and architecture, characterised by the use of Chinese motifs and techniques.

First appearing in the 17th century, chinoiserie is a European interpretation or imitation of Chinese and East Asian artistic traditions that is especially associated with decorative arts, theatre and performance. This period of design history is famous for its rebellion against Renaissance illusionism, moving towards more authentic, asymmetric decorations, sparking the east meets west design fusion.

Here was an opportunity for a new trend towards freedom in expression, both whimsical and hedonistic, sparking much debate and divided opinion. A bridge between two decorative styles and a substantial link between the east and west cultures, thus creating a new east meets west design philosophy.

east meets west design fusion
Photography: ©PieterEstersohn via https://www.townandcountrymag.com/style/collectibles/g922/collected-book/?slide=2

Fortunately this decorative period has sustained popularity ensuring that there is a wide range of wonderful items available in the market to choose from when creating interior design and when producing luxury wedding design or party planning. Indeed there are plenty of opportunities to choose the perfect pieces to complement a wedding with an east meets west design fusion theme.

Chinoiserie can be seen as in influence in many housewares and home interiors throughout Europe and North America - it is still as popular in modern day interior design and stately homes. With an abundance of colourful decorative pieces, scenes depicting Chinese landscapes and ornate gold finishes, these designs ooze simple elegance and sophistication. If you still wish to keep a fresh appearance to your wedding or party design then adding small amounts of French Porcelain, such as the famous Medici Porcelain, can really enhance the overall feel of the room, whilst not overwhelming the design.

Medici Porcelain Gourd
By World Imaging - Own work, photographed at Le Louvre, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10529642

Incorporate a chinoiserie east meets west design fusion for your wedding or luxury party by doing the following:

Introduce a screen printed drape system but incorporate a strong Chinoiserie east meets west design aesthetic to frame the room. This would be a bold statement and exquisite backdrop.

Peacock Wallpaper degournay
'St Laurent' in standard design colours on Edo Turquoise painted Xuan paper. Photography by Miguel Flores Vianna. https://degournay

Add subtle French porcelain to your dining tables for an immediate east meets west design detail. These sophisticated vases are elegant, chic and utterly beautiful.

French Porcelain
Photography: via Pinterest

Introduce nature and subtle floral across the room and within the set design. We would recommend the use of cherry blossom and other soft pinks, golds and pastel shades. Think a mix of traditional with a contemporary lift.

Contemporary Hallway with Pink Suspended Lamp
Photography: via Pinterest

If you are hosting a drinks reception out on the lawn, create decorative pagodas that can be used as bars or food service areas bringing a beautiful east meets west design fusion. Or perhaps use a pagoda design as a central feature in your drape system to bring the whole Chinoiserie design to life, as seen below.

PAGODA AT BAD MERGENTHEIM
Photography: via https://architecturalwatercolors.com/gallery/

Take all of these elements, place them perfectly together, add a little design magic by the design team at The Events Mill, and you could have the luxury wedding or party design of your dreams. This is what bringing all of the above together could look like:

©TheEventsMill

If you would like to find out more about our wedding design services click here. If you're planning a party and need some design inspiration and would like to chat through your plans then you can get in touch by email at info@theeventsmill.com or by calling 02037230195

“Christopher has an unrivalled level of creativity; I’ve rarely worked with someone who possess such a level imagination and who can create such magnificent events. Christopher’s attention to detail is also extraordinary, resulting in him being uniquely able to deliver events and experiences that are both exquisite to see and experience. An exceptional event specialist.”


Donna Dia, Director of Events at GLAMOUR

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