Case study: Simulation technology immerses visitors in nature environment

Dubai-based Bluehaus Group provides interior design and MEP engineering for the new Orbi Centre in Dubai, the first outside of Japan, developed by Majid Al Futtaim, Sega and BBC Worldwide.

Audio-visual and technological products that can be seamlessly integrated into the spaces we occupy are more in demand today than ever before. But how do you design a space where the technology is actually the key element of the overall immersive experience?

Commercial Interior Design tours Orbi Dubai, a virtual wildlife park, collaboratively developed by Japanese technology and video-game company Sega and BBC Worldwide.

Promoted as a “supercharged indoor nature experience”, Orbi fuses BBC Earth’s content with Sega’s technological innovation, using laser-projected visual images and videos.

Orbi was initially founded in Yokohama, Japan in 2013. Dubai-based Bluehaus Group (its interior design and MEP engineering divisions) was appointed to implement and develop the original concept for Orbi Dubai in City Center Mirdif, its first location outside of Japan.

“From the moment Bluehaus Group was invited to bid on this project, we were excited,” comments Ben Corrigan, founder of Bluehau Group. “We knew this was going to be something special and wanted to be involved. The end-result has far exceeded our expectations, and this is a testament to the collaborative approach by the Majid Al Futtaim team (MAF) and all involved to deliver what is a highly complex and technical project. MAF has a reputation for pushing the boundaries and taking the lead in this region; this undertaking is a testament to MAF’s progressive and ambitious approach.”

Spanning 5,228m2, Orbi Dubai features 12 different exhibits and interactive walk-through touchpoints.

Using laser-projected visual images, three-dimensional directional sound, smells, wind, fog, and lighting effects, the “Theatre 23.4” production stimulates the senses to create an experience that replicates the reality of being among nature.

Emily Wong, technical design manager at Bluehaus Group, tells CID, that the space planning was crucial for the project in order to get the visitors flow right. The team worked closely with both Sega and MAF.

“Orbi is conceptualised to offer an amazing digital experience for its visitors and the entire space revolves around interactive technology,” says Wong. “The space is designed for people of all generations and different walks of life to share their fascination with nature and Orbi will astound them.

As Wong explains, facilitating the movement of people from one area to another may “sound simple”, but a lot of thought has been put into designing directional graphics to orientate people within the space.

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