INTO SIGHT was a life-sized media platform installation created by Design Centre Europe during
London Design Festival in September 2022 that played with sensorial effects that transformed
simple boundary surfaces into an infinite vista through shifting light, colour and sound.
The project aimed to capture and discover new insights regarding the coexistence of physical and virtual realities.
INTO SIGHT Exhibition experience
Stepping into our installation
at London Design Festival 2022
Bringing INTO SIGHT to life required a multidisciplinary team made of technologists, interaction designers, content creators, art directors, CGI specialists, sound designers, producers, and PR/media expertise. The design of the physical structure and the creation of the content were developed in parallel to guarantee that the whole visitor experience would run like magic.
The Installation consisted of a 9.50m long x 3.70m wide x 3.40m high rectangular tunnel with an opening on one end and a 220-inch Crystal LED screen on the other. The see-through glass walls and mirrors on the floor and ceiling were coated with a colour-changing 3M™ Dichroic Glass Finishes that created an infinity room effect. Stepping into the installation unleashed a unique response to the movements of the guests, who were immersed in unexpected visual and audio dimensions that provided real-time interaction with the content.
"Our goal was to give meaning to ideas and develop new standards through the power of design.
INTO SIGHT enveloped us in an immersive sensory experience, creating an infinite, insightful
and very individual journey for every guest. Above all, it relied on the transformative
emotional connections that the platform delivered for our visitors."
Hirotaka Tako, Creative Director & Head of Sony Design Centre Europe
Scale model of INTO SIGHT Tunnel concept
To test the construction principles of the big glass tunnel and anticipate the effect of combining INTO SIGHT's key technologies, Sony's sensors and Crystal LED screen, the project team built scaled down physical and digital prototypes that would allow the testing of a variety of content configurations.
"Seeing exciting results through the usage of small-scale mock-ups made us
confident that we could create an amazing experience that was several times larger."
Reiko Mitsugi, Producer/Manager
interactive visual content
The initial visual contents were inspired by the Impressionist art movement and what it would look like in the digital era, which gave birth to experiments with pixel art and block forms. These were later expanded to take advantage of the colour-changing factor of the dichroic film applied on the glass walls combined with the infinity effect on the mirrors on the floor and ceiling.
The digital 3D version of the tunnel allowed the CGI specialists and content designers to visualise the effect the screenâs images and patterns would take once they bounced off and changed colours. This approach demonstrated that from a technical perspective, the content had to be kept simple enough to run smoothly and avoid overwhelming the visitors, and that creatively, it had to be interesting enough to keep them engaged. The experience had to be not just interactive but also emotional.
"We tried out thousands of ideas and based on that experimentation we decided what the main
pillar of our content would be. It was also important to decide what not to do and strike a balance
between the aesthetics of the experience and the comfort of the visitors."
Yoshihito Ohki, Design Technologist
Another finding from the digital and physical models was how the screen content that had a dark background with a bright white pattern on it would look like if it was almost transparent, and generate a see-through effect on the sides of the tunnel. This unexpected result was used to create new kinds of interactions that were not part of the original plan.
"INTO SIGHT consists of a tunnel with see-through colour-changing 3M™ Dichroic Glass Finishes which added several levels of complexity when it comes to content production. What the artist sees on the production screen will be multiplied and change colors in all directions with no end. Using a small-scale model and 3D visualization tools we were able to conceptualize how this would be experienced by the visitors at an early stage."
Jesper Gill-Hansson, Senior Manager
The immersive experience of
stepping 'INTO SIGHT'
Compared to other kinds of immersive experiences like virtual reality, being inside the tunnel allowed the public to interact with the content physically, without the need for a dedicated device, and to react to the movements of the other people around them.
The sensing system was kept as simple as possible in order to accommodate more people simultaneously inside the tunnel. The project used Sonyâs infrared sensor technology to allow two-dimensional tracking of the visitors rather than a more complex skeleton tracking system, which would have limited the visitor flow to a small number of simultaneous people.
The tunnel also had speaker units on the ceiling that allowed for a next level immersive, generative, pulsing and rhythmic soundtrack that worked together with the visuals.
"The way in which the Crystal LED screen, 3M™ Dichroic Glass Finishes, and sensors were combined was completely unique for this exhibition. During the building of the tunnel, we adjusted the positioning of the speakers and sensing devices to guarantee the best possible visitor experience."
Ryota Uchida, Designer
Using communications to
further enhance the visitor experience
The communications team was responsible for giving the project a name and graphic identity, developing the creative narrative, coordinating PR & media activations, and delivering all sorts of communication assets to promote the event, from the physical installation at the venue to online activations through London Design Festival and Sonyâs digital channels.
The name of the project came out of a play of words between gaining insight and stepping into new visual experiences. It was inspired by the main goal of the installation, to gain insight into what immersive experiences are and a deeper understanding of what works best in terms of people's engagement. Furthermore, stepping into the tunnel was like crossing a threshold where, as the visitor interacted inside the space, more things came into view beyond what theyâd realised at first glance.
"It was when we first saw the conceptual sketches from the experience design team that we imagined stepping into this imaginary world, and this triggered the naming INTO SIGHT and the story around it. The crossover between teams from the early start was absolutely essential and a turning point to meld the narrative and the communications together into the overall experience."
Phillip Rose, Senior Producer
The communications campaign to promote INTO SIGHT started three months ahead of the opening with an initial teaser image and interview with Hirotaka Tako during LDF's "First Look" online press launch. This was the first time that a global audience would see the identity and creative narrative behind the project. The challenge was to show the scale of it by hinting at what would happen without revealing too much so as to keep the surprise factor for later.
To do this, a set of images for print, online and social media were created featuring a person standing in a vast space with just a few perspective lines to give a sense of scale and surrounded by a colourful gradient that hinted at the wondrous effect inside the tunnel.
A unique souvenir to
represent the exhibition
Inspired by the sheer variety and colour shifting effect inside the installation, the communications team created a series of 900 individually unique A2 prints for the visitors to take home. By combining the flexibility of cutting-edge digital print with a generative algorithm to render infinite colour combinations of the main visual, each poster had its own one-of-a-kind appearance, symbolising the personalised experience of entering INTO SIGHT. Each copy was individually numbered, and the printing order was randomised, allowing for playful interaction where visitors searched for their favourite numbers.
The visitor experience went well beyond what happened inside INTO SIGHTâs glass tunnel. The guiding principle that informed the design of each touchpoint from start to end was that of the Japanese concept of omotenashi, looking after the visitors to make them feel welcome.
Before the event, it was through the communications campaign, the presence was built via websites, social media and newsletters. It was followed by the signage and welcoming at the venue, including the management of the queue outside the building and the coaching of the staff who would offer guidance to the visitors. Then there was the actual experience inside the tunnel, an informative exhibition that explained the technology being used and finally the possibility to take home a memento in the form of a unique, beautiful print.
"I wanted to make a beautiful piece that people would keep and cherish, that could also act as a nice talking point for the guests. I also wanted to represent the sheer uniqueness of interacting with our exhibition in a physical form. The 900 original, limited-edition prints were extremely popular and were picked up very quickly by the visitors."
Richard Small, Senior Art Director
"I want to thank all of the visitors, journalists, colleagues for visiting our Project. Seeing the reactions to interactions within the installation was really fulfilling for us. We were so happy to see our concept realised and were very pleased to share the experience with so many people. The insights of how emotional connections can be made through an immersive sensory experience will help inform the future of our design concepts at Sony."
Hirotaka Tako, Creative Director " Head of Sony Design Centre Europe
Yoshihito Ohki, Jesper Gill-Hansson, Rikke Gertsen Constein,
Hampus Hedberg Hankell, Shotaro Hirata
Event Design & 3D Architect:
Reiko Mitsugi, Ryota Uchida
Communication Design & PR:
Richard Small, Phillip Rose, Nobuki Furue, Megumi Ikeda, Asako Kemmoku, Mariko Watanabe