The World Expo Dubai is set to receive a spectacular biophilic installation thanks to multidisciplinary design studio Cactus and it’s work on the awe-inspiring Brazil pavilion. The fully immersive 360° nature-evoking experience will transports visitors to Brazil’s forests, canyons, and beaches through breathtaking larger-than-life visual projections.
Cactus’ design and tech-forward experience showcase the power of combining culture and digital tools to tell meaningful stories.
“We want the world to see and feel the beauty and intricacies of the country we call home,” explains Marcelo Pontes, Head of Architecture for Cactus. “The process of achieving seamless UX requires good design at its core. There were many technical roadblocks, including regional weather, sand, and heat, that made this project more difficult than anything else we have taken on before. Unlike traditional immersive experiences which only focus on projection mapping inside spaces, we were designing for the entire exterior of the exhibit as well.”
Shaping the Amazon Rainforest in Dubai
Stepping through a shallow reflective pool beneath the 24,800 square foot enclosure, visitors are immersed in a one-of-a-kind sensory experience. From the walls to the floor and ceiling, guests are surrounded by over 60,000 square feet of vibrant videos, enveloped in the wondrous sights and sounds of the Amazon rainforest. As the sun sets, the exterior of the exhibit transforms into a luminous cube of dazzling images, traversing through Brazil’s lush and diverse landscapes, unveiling another must-see harmonizing digital display of culture and entertainment.
To translate the vision of several prominent Brazilian architects, including MMBB, JPQ.ARQ, and BEN-AVID, Cactus’ first challenge meant meticulously specifying a projectable and weather-resistant sheer translucent fabric to illuminate the various videos of Brazil’s natural geographical wonders, while keeping in mind the Expo’s theme of sustainability and biodiversity.
This led to the development of an extremely sturdy material in its composition. The bespoke construction membrane 1002 HT boasts high tensile and tear strength, allowing it to withstand sandstorms, windstorms, and other challenging elements of desert life. The textile’s consistent color translucency also makes it ideal for high-quality digital projections viewed from both inside and outside the Pavilion.
With careful architectural precision, Cactus then cleverly integrated the 140+ projectors into the physical design of the pavilion. Precise integrations were additionally implemented to ensure synchronization between each projection.
Creating Magic With Technology and Design
Much of the magic experienced as a result of Cactus’ work can be credited to the innovative, yet disciplined design practices behind the scenes. By employing a dedicated, strategic approach marked by its diversified expertise, this interdisciplinary studio makes the impossible look completely effortless. The result is a human-centric design, highlighting the confluence of physical-meets-digital with an immersive experience that considers both the built environment and the necessity of technology for delivery.
Surround sound systems and crisp visual projections at a massive scale pull spectators out of their handheld devices and force them to observe and enjoy the physical space in which they occupy. It is through these experiences that Cactus captivates audiences and create unforgettable ‘in-real-life’ experiences that excite and inspire.
“Our job is to turn lofty, complex ideas into reality, to optimize and accelerate the convergence of digital and physical experiences at an architectural scale,” notes Lucas Werthein, Head of Technology for Cactus. “This project is a culmination of everything we love doing and believe we need more of in this world—getting people out of their phones and into their lives, experiencing wonder in a way that is memorable, sensory, and highly entertaining and engaging.”