Warsaw – OperaLab is an interdisciplinary studio that is one part gallery, one part think-tank. For its Design of Identity/Identity of Design competition, it asked designers to submit ideas for a mobile pavilion for the Grand Theatre National Opera house in Warsaw. The 10 finalists were displayed in a unique exhibition where none of their work was immediately visible.
When entering an architectural exhibition, often there are models and blueprints, but on walking into the Design of Identity/Identity of Design space, visitors encountered an empty room, except for 10 differently patterned pedestals. Each visitor was given a tablet and instructed to hold up the tablet to the pedestal. When the tablet’s camera read the pattern on a pedestal, a finalist’s computer renderings of their pavilion design appeared on the screen.
‘The augmented reality technology combines the real world with a virtual, computer-generated one,’ says OperaLab. ‘It affords an opportunity to present three-dimensional objects ‘inserted’ in real space.’
We often talk of Phy-gital spaces in terms of retail, but OperaLab’s exhibition shows how the deft combining of physical and digital realities can create an immersive experience in other contexts.