As the largest event ever held in the Arab world and featuring the combined resources of over 200 companies, Dubai Expo 2020 is replete with innovative elements to leave attendees awe-struck.
Beyond the performances from acclaimed international artists, daily attractions, culinary experiences and firework displays, the event has successfully fused architecture with audio-visual technology to encourage digital immersion and worldwide audience interaction.
Many interactive elements have been seen in just the first few weeks of the six-month event, inspiring festival event organisers within Australia to improve and incorporate immersive visual displays in future events. For engaging concepts and the latest technology, here’s some insight into the rich technology usage seen so far!
Augmented and blended reality
The first month of Expo 2020 has shown the grandeur of using innovative AR and blended reality to present cultural and national aspects. In the Brazil Pavilion, attendees walk through a simulated rainforest complete with lightly falling water, to replicate the sounds and sensations of the Amazon.
Other pavilions are using virtual reality headsets to allow attendees to truly experience their culture in a dynamic and entertaining way.
The first month of Expo 2020 also featured an interactive exhibition titled “Notre-Dame de Paris, the experience” in the France Pavilion. The immersive demonstration showcased the iconic cathedral through the augmented reality technology HistoPad, creating a rich portrayal of the construction and the architecture’s role throughout history.
Awe-inspiring visual displays have been at the forefront of the event, with the architecture uniquely shaped to best encapsulate visual projections for audiences. The site of Expo 2020 had a reported budget of $8.1 billion (USD) invested in the infrastructure to elevate the artistic displays and projection mapping.
These artistic displays include Kaleidoscope, which is a stunning outdoor projection show celebrating photography, light and the visual arts each night that links to the expo’s themes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, and the synchronised, drone laser light show of the China Pavilion performed nightly at 8 pm.
A centrepiece of the Expo is the Al Wasl Plaza, a dome constructed of transparent panels which will serve as the main site of the Expo’s Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the New Year’s Eve entertainment.
At 67 metres in height with a dome that stretches 130 metres in diameter, Al Wasl Plaza has served as an extraordinary site for panoramic visual projections all while offering weather and humidity protection to stunned audiences.
The dome holds 252 projectors which have been used to create artistic visual attractions that can be enjoyed at any angle and viewed from both inside and outside the dome, making Al Wasl Plaza the world’s largest 360-degree projection screen.
Al Wasl Plaza
Digital entertainment and gamification
Using displays and architecture, the Expo has also created a myriad of interactive elements to encourage engagement. The steep, sloping face of the Saudi Arabia Pavilion showcases the fun of fusing interactivity with unique architecture.
The floor beneath this statuesque building is dotted with 8,000 LED pixels to create a giant screen that allows to compete in a game that is also displayed on the LED screens above for passing enjoyment. This interactive game encourages audiences to step into the plaza, where they are met with a 22-metre-wide curved screen that displays beautiful footage of Saudi Arabia.
The Opportunity Pavilion also uses gamification technology to teach attendees about the different challenges faced by people around the world. For instance, one facet of the pavilion describes how Peruvians are approaching their limited access to water with holographic imagery, joystick games to mimic catching fog within nets and projected motion graphics, all while surrounded by the immersive audio of village life.
As a collaboration of 192 nations, Expo 2020 was built with international audiences and the challenges of travel during the COVID pandemic in mind. For increased accessibility and international inclusion, the event created a range of virtual experiences to allow attendees from all nations to be a part of the entertainment. From a digital app to digital tours, audiences can participate with all the splendour of the event online with an interactive map that allows guests to click on districts to experience a 360-degree tour of the festival site.
The Expo 2020 has taken virtual attendance a step further by creating a unique gamification set up in Minecraft. The world-building game allows international attendees to experience the cultural learning experience through the game of Minecraft with unique quests and learning plans.
The Sustainability Pavilion
Blending physical design with digital technology
The Sustainability Pavilion is a great example of how designing a space in tandem with storytelling elements can create an unforgettable and immersive experience. Built to show the connectivity of nature, attendees enter the pavilion through a site that mimics the appearance of a dry riverbed and continue into a room that artistically demonstrates tangled root systems.
A digital environment that beautifully shows the natural world, ticket-goers then bound across a net that forms the tree’s network and lights up with each footstep. The attendees are encouraged to learn more about nature’s interconnectivity with walls displaying animated trees and their root systems, before descending a ramp into a space that displays the depths of the ocean on seamless, surrounding screens.
As guests pass through a hallway constructed to appear like whale ribs, the walls light up in response to any noise made by attendees for an extra level of interactivity. The journey then transforms into a chilling representation of the damage of human waste with mechanical puppets and automated conveyor belts.
The dramatization of the environmental message in this pavilion through light shows and interactive features shows how intertwining a space with a story creates a lasting impression. A perfect method of integrating technology and sculpted physical spaces to create an amazing audience experience.
With five months to go and over 200 pavilions to explore, Expo 2020 is really showing the dazzling heights that the latest audio-visual technology can bring to an event. To draw inspiration from the many technological feats to come in the Expo 2020, visit the free online experience at Virtual Expo.
All Photos: Clean Vibes