Presence environments: East London’s OTHERWORLD virtual reality arcade

[This Design Milk report on a new “VR arcade” in East London emphasizes the importance of the environment in which people experience presence. See the original story for a 17-image photo gallery, and for more information see the websites of OTHERWORLD and specialist investor Imbiba. –Matthew]

East London’s OTHERWORLD Virtual Reality Arcade

June 11, 2019
Posted by Kelly Beall; Photos by Mariell Lind Hansen

If you’ve been in London recently you may have heard talk of OTHERWORLD, a unique virtual reality arcade located within a converted railway arch. The multi-sensory immersive concept from The Dream Corporation was designed by leading London-based architectural firm Red Deer and hosts 14 virtual reality rooms as well as a craft beer and cocktail bar and pan-pacific inspired poké kitchen.

Lead architect, Lucas Che Tizard, took on the breakdown of perception and transition into a virtual world through the use of light, because vision is one of the easiest senses to alter. VoodooVision lent a hand in achieving this.

“We wanted to create an immersive space suited to a wider demographic than those normally associated with the stereotypical carpeted games arcade from the 1980s. By keeping the space minimal it made the lighting and hue soft hue fades the focal point of the project and gave a feeling of a futuristic environment,” said Lucas Che Tizard, Red Deer Founding Director.

Upon stepping foot into the space, guests are taken on an innovative journey beginning with a neon jungle that eventually leads to the main room, a Tron-esque landscape that’s been designed to breakdown your perception of reality. Red Deer approached the design of this space as if it were an art gallery, reaching for inspiration from lighting artists Dan Flavin and James Turrell to break down reality.

Each immersion room is a parallel universe of possibility, featuring custom-built booths (the only in the world) that are integrated with extra-sensory effects that stimulate through heat, wind, rumble, and scent for the VR experience. From there choose from 16 experiences – from climbing Mount Everest to fighting in a zombie apocalypse and so much more.

Che Tizard adds, “At Otherworld, the physical design was intentionally pared back and made as minimal as possible to allow the light to form the main element of the interior. By using fading colours to breakdown corners, angles, and forms, and direct lighting to accentuate them, one’s awareness of the space is toyed with. In some instances this is very subtle, like the fades on the arched ceiling and severe like the exposed neon strips on the bar front.”

The craft beer and cocktail bar sits opposite a small lounge area, and was designed to form the focal point of the space. The bar receives the only direct neon lighting, all other illumination fades throughout at the 265m2 East London venue.


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