Meet our partner: Responsive Spaces!

Responsive Spaces is a firm which operates based on the intersection of technology and design, integrating design and experience since they specialize in creating innovative and captivating media solutions in virtual as well as in real spaces! 

Responsive Spaces talks to us today about audience engagement, and we asked them a few questions:

° Responsive Spaces’ logo is composed of a square black and white with a very “Yin and Yang” feeling, the leitmotiv is:

“… connecting opposites …”:

Is your company’s philosophy to look for an audience engagement balancing between the digital and human aspects?  

Yes, in a way you can say that. We had multiple opposites in mind when we thought about our way of approaching projects. Of course, there is digital and analog.

However, there are also ratio and emotion, action and reaction, machines and humans, input and output or the visible and the invisible side of things. All these opposites bear intriguing aspects within themselves, and that is where we feel most comfortable.

Trade show installation: Delacon Dandelion in Atlanta 2018

Regarding exhibitions, every exhibit has at least one story to tell. Moreover, nothing should get in the way of this story and the audience. In smart usage of technology, we sense the potential of enhancing this relationship and of creating additional value for everybody. Technology and story, those two should never be opposites.

Photo by Azerbaijan Venice Biennale

How does your agency decide which digital technology will be used on an installation? What factor is taken into account, concerning the operational and the level of immersive experience given for a particular project? 

That’s the tough part, yet also the most fun part. We address all new projects in the same way. We get together with our clients and try to learn about their story (or stories). We try to learn as much as possible about everything they want to tell the audience and also why they want to say to it.

After boiling down everything we heard, we try to extract messages, of which we think that the audience can perceive fully. Till here, aspects of technology are entirely out of the equation.

It’s all story-first and message-first. We try not to judge anything and believe that everything is doable.

We play around with as many different ideas as possible, some of them more conservative, some of them quite crazy.

However, it’s always the story that has to be the star; the technology has to be the supporting actor.

At the tail end of the process, there is a very technical part of the thinking necessary to finalize the ideas.

 Which set of technology in which combination can lift each and every single thought the best?

So then, sitting in front of plenty of ideas, we start factoring in reality. Operational circumstances as well as budget, spatial limitations, target groups and all the other factors that influence projects. Consequentially, some ideas have to be adapted; some have to be dropped at all.

A broad selection of the surviving ideas is then presented to the clients. The rest of the way is a collaborative one because the realization of our projects always needs the support of our clients as well.

 In past projects, have you been using gamification as part of an audience engagement strategy? How?   

Intriguing interaction concepts address the playful instincts in all of us. In my mind, gamification is more a paradigm than a particular aspect of a project.

If interacting with an installation brings joy, then plenty of advantages of gamification kick in. If this joy comes from immersion, fun interaction or any kind of rewarding does’t matter. The audience is drawn into the experience either way and in the process, drawn into the story.

Created for ZKW Group, a wall where visitors could enter a 6×4 m space of pure light, underlining each and every story in an interactive and immersive way.

Tell us about a mixed reality project that you did and how did the audience(s) reacted?

Four years ago my team and I  – back then at the Multimedia Lab of Netural –  developed a Virtual Reality installation for a client of ours. They build tailor-made luxury yachts, had a new model that wasn’t built yet and wanted to make it the focal point of their communications around the most important trade show in Europe.”

Although Virtual Reality was still in an early stage (we are talking about the autumn of 2014 her); it seemed to be a perfect match. A high quality, very special walkable product that is about 18 to 24 month away from existing in real life. Our clients showed courage and trust and fully committed to the idea of building their exhibition stand exclusively around a VR installation. Remember, this tradeshow is the most important European one in their segment, that happens every second year. The whole setup, the walking platform, the second screens, the tailor-made shoes, the concept of assistance and so on was all developed on the fly.

The end result was very rewarding. Surprised and stunned visitors all week long. Every time somebody stepped foot into one of the two VR stations, immediately an audience arose. Our client became a hot topic for the whole week with visitors and members of the press alike.

We soon found out that the more important target group is the audience, not the VR user his- or herself. The user immediately became a star for the moment. Due to the unknown and new technology, many people just did not dare to step forward and try it themselves.

Once a user dared to commit to the installation, he or she got a great experience. A crowded audience built every time a station was used, and people just loved to watch other people on their virtual tour through the yacht. Average time used were more than 20 minutes because the immersion was just there.

We feel that Responsive Spaces and Wezit are very complementary in terms of organizing the content, dealing with the user experience in terms of a visit continuum… 

Nowadays mobility is everywhere, breaking down the conventional ways of consuming information. We see more and more elements exposed in non-traditional ways. Definitely, the landscape is evolving, and experiencing a brand, an exhibition, have become a multi-way, accessible to everyone.

What we question is: how to enable the continuum beyond the experience ? Is “Digital” a way, and what is the best solution?