Experience Radar 7: The Netherlands’ Immersive Wonderland, Roald Dahl Goes Transmedia, And Convergence Has Arrived

At The WXO, we want to connect the dots across the Experience Economy and across the globe – so each week, we’ll be bringing you our round-up of the experiential stories that we think reveal something interesting, relevant or transferrable about the Experience Economy.

Welcome to Radar 7, where we’re getting excited about Meow Wolf’s latest launch, immersive experiences in The Netherlands and San Francisco, and the possibility of a transmedia Roald Dahl universe…

1. The Netherlands Welcomes An Immersive Wonderland

The Netherlands Hotel Wonderland

Immersive theatre is already well-established in the UK and US – think Punchdrunk’s permanent residency with Sleep No More in NYC, or Immersive LDN‘s 32,000 square-foot venue dedicated to immersive events such as the current Great Gatsby and Doctor Who experiences.

Now, immersive is coming to the Netherlands with the launch of Hotel Wonderland, the first immersion theatre in the country. Located in two old factory halls in Zaandam, near Amsterdam, Hotel Wonderland is billed as “an imaginative and evening-filling theatre experience” where you can “walk freely between the storylines, feel and change, taste and talk, listen and let go”. Doors open on November 13 – and if any Dutch experientialists fancy doing a review for us, get in touch!

2. Convergence Is Coming: Meow Wolf Denver Has Arrived

The Cathedral deep within Meow Wolf’s Ice World, Denver.

We watch everything immersive entertainment and arts company Meow Wolf does keenly – if you haven’t already, check out former Head of Tech for Burning Man Heather Richardson’s review of their Las Vegas experience here.

So we’re on the edge of our seats (or shoes – seats are so last century) to see the reviews roll in for their latest experience in Denver, which launched on September 17 after more than three years in the making.

Convergence Station is set across four stories, houses more than 70 unique installations from over 300 artists, and promises “immersive psychedelic, mind-bending art and an underlying rich narrative as you take a journey of discovery into a surreal, science-fictional epic”. They’ve already sold an astonishing more than 100,000 tickets in pre-sales – a clear reflection of the huge demand for just this kind of experience.

3. Sh*t Just Got Unreal With San Francisco’s Unreal AR Garden

The Unreal Garden

Over in San Francisco, The Unreal Garden immersive pop-up promises to blend art, nature and tech in a powerful mixed-reality experience that they’re calling “a space of possibilities filled with magical flora, fauna and artworks, a space to be transformed by your presence and energy. A space where everyone has their own unique experience.”

Guests walk through a space wearing Microsoft HoloLens 2 headsets, unlocking experiences such as magic mushrooms, fractal flower beds and a rotating gallery of digital artworks.

4. Charlie And The Content Factory: Netflix Buys Roald Dahl’s Back Catalogue

Streaming giant Netflix has acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company (RDSC) and has plans to create a universe spanning several formats, including animated and live action films, games, live theatre and immersive entertainment.

Starting with an animated series based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and an adaptation of Matilda the Musical, we’re interested to see how they bring together their considerable media muscle to create some impressive transmedia storytelling. Maybe they could take some inspiration from Klaus Paulsen’s Firestarter talk on integrated storytelling from Campfire 15…

5. The Key To Great UX? Make It Memorable

The Memorable Framework Experience

Memorable experience design and the Transformation Economy make an appearance in this piece on “The Memorable Experience Framework” for UX Collective. Having spent Campfire 22 ruminating on how to confound expectations, stand out from the crowd and create a truly memorable experience, we’re pleased to see the same ideas being reflected when it comes to user experience.

6. How Do You Find The World’s Best Escape Room?

Top Escapes. Photo by Zachary Keimig/Unsplash

The Top Escape Rooms Project is giving it their best shot, awarding the best escape room experiences and companies each year with their Top Escape Rooms Project Enthusiasts’ Choice Award (TERPECA). The list for 2020 is now live. As we develop our own methodology for ranking experiences, we’re always interested to see how others are doing the same – TERP used the rankings of escape room enthusiasts to reach their final list, with The Netherlands’ The Dome nabbing the top spot.

7. Finally, Your Mantra For The Week Ahead…

“Experience Design is the recreation of things that suck.”

Adam Aleksander, immersive experience designer

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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