Designing a state-of-the-art installation for an international Expo

Designing a state-of-the-art installation for an international Expo

July 20, 2024

How do you marry creativity with tech to convey a country’s transformation?

Boris Mika Associates are the designers behind Saudi Arabia’s jaw-dropping cantilevered pavilion. So when they asked us to collaborate on an installation for the long-awaited Expo2020 in Dubai, we jumped at the chance.

We had an epic and exciting task – to design a giant digital table portraying Saudi Arabia’s heritage and progress using stunning interactive displays. The solution? A multidisciplinary effort combining creativity and cutting-edge tech to deliver an incredible visitor experience.

“Our system enabled 42 users to interact at once”

Understanding the client’s vision

Before we could decide on the best technical approach, we had to understand exactly what the client wanted to convey to visitors. It was an iterative process that demanded face-to-face conversations and intensive feedback. Our design teams constantly worked hard to align the client’s expectations with our technical solutions and creative approach. This was only possible due to our close collaboration with the client.

The scale of the project also required tight coordination. Our UI/UX designers collaborated with our programmers and an Austria-based hardware team, in charge of installation. This was the biggest project we’d ever taken on and, with the sophisticated tech and complicated logistics involved, it was clear it would also be one of the most challenging.

Applying and testing state-of-the-art tech

We arrived at our final technical solution after investigating several different approaches, eventually settling on 3D creation tool Unreal Engine with N-Display capabilities. Interconnecting just 7 servers to output to 20 4K projectors had never been done before. But thanks to the combined expertize of our Studios teams, we pulled it off.

Our teams also did a great job of enhancing the visitor experience. Our system enabled 42 users to interact simultaneously – another first. This was impossible to test with real-life visitors, so we designed software to simulate multiple incoming messages to the interface. Still, we only knew for sure it worked when the expo opened and everything went without a hitch.

Achieving the impossible

Our Studios teams pulled off an incredible feat with this demanding project. Thanks to their diverse expertize, we fulfilled the client’s challenging creative brief and Expo visitors are discovering Saudi Arabia like they’ve never seen it before.

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