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19 Extraordinary Experiences Open Now & Coming Soon: July 2023

Each month we share our edit of the experiences opening around the globe that we think are truly extraordinary. Here’s what we think is worth checking out in July 2023.

If you’re working on an Extraordinary Experience you’d like us to consider for a future edition, please share it HERE!

1. Illusionaries

Above image; Animal Kingdom, teamLab; Illusionaries, London. Headline image: Meow Wolf Grapevine’s The Real Unreal, Photo by Jess Gallo courtesy of Meow Wolf.

Open: Until 24 September
Location: London, England
Experience Sector: Immersive art

Illusionaries – the UK’s first story-based immersive art experience – is a temporary creative hub at Crossrail Place in Canary Wharf. The venue explores human consciousness through stimulating exhibitions, establishing a new standard for digital art. The cutting-edge attraction has kicked off its run with an audiovisual experience called ‘Memories of a Dead Poet’, directed and animated by Iranian artist Arash Irandoust.

The 40-minute odyssey includes otherworldly imagery and immersive soundscapes across three galleries. The journey begins in the Epilogue room, which features a 360-degree projection exploring greed, jealousy and fear. The second space is filled with infinity mirrors, while ‘Primordial gardeners’ is an escape room offering calming acoustics, mist and visual projections.

2. Kagami by Ryuchi Sakamoto

Kagami by Ryuchi Sakamoto, New York

Open: Until 2 July
Location: New York, US
Experience Sector: Mixed reality

Fans of the late Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto are being given the chance to experience his magic once again through the power of mixed reality tech. New York arts centre The Shed is hosting a series of envelope-pushing mixed reality concerts created by Sakamoto in collaboration with Tin Drum. Called Kagami, meaning ‘mirror’ in Japanese, the performance fuses dimensional moving photography with the real world in an MR presentation.

The experience sees audience members don optically transparent devices to view a virtual version of Sakamoto performing on the piano alongside dimensional art aligned with the music and a scent specially created for the concert, which features 10 original Sakamoto compositions.

3. Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom, teamLab

Open: Until 3 September
Location: Skärhamn, Sweden
Experience Sector: Immersive art

TeamLab, the interdisciplinary art collective responsible for immersive multi-sensory experiences around the globe, is the brains behind a new exhibition at the Nordic Watercolor Museum in Sweden called Animal Kingdom, which pits contemporary art against historical works from the likes of the German illustrator and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian, American artist James John Audubon, Finnish brothers Wilhelm and Magnus von Wright, and German artist Ernst Haeckel, a prominent natural scientist who coined the term ‘ecology’.

Based on TeamLab’s concept of ‘Ultrasubjective Space’, their works will be presented in the context of the great challenges facing the natural world, from climate change to the mass extinctions occurring in the animal world.

4. Gatsby In Nice

Gatsby, Nice

Open: 15 July until 19 August
Location: Nice, France
Experience Sector: Immersive entertainment

A new Great Gatsby-inspired experience is coming to Nice this summer in a hat tip to where the book’s author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, lived for a time with his wife Zelda. Those keen to party like its 1929 can head to the five-star, Art Deco, Hyatt Regency Palais de la Méditerranée, which is hosting a series of soirées that aim to evoke the decadence and debauchery of the roaring twenties.

Walking the line between immersive theatre and pure entertainment, the two-hour event, which includes complimentary cocktails, will see the hotel transformed into Jay Gatsby’s mansion. Guests can choose to be spectators or actors within the experience, and can help co-create the storyline with the novel’s protagonists.

5. The Loch Ness Centre

The Loch Ness Centre, Scotland

Open: Now
Location: Inverness, Scotland
Experience Sector: Themed attractions

Monster hunters listen up! A Loch Ness-inspired immersive experience has opened on the site of the Drumnadrochit Hotel, where manageress Aldie Mackay reported spotting Nessie 90 years ago, sparking a long-lasting global fascination. Following a £1.5m revamp, at the Loch Ness Centre visitors can explore one of Scotland’s most famous legends.

Lasting an hour, the experience includes a walk through 500 million years of history to explore the myths and hear scientific research surrounding the legendary beast. Visitors can pore over hundreds of eyewitness accounts and recorded sightings, alongside unexplained evidence and artefacts. Nessie fans can also climb aboard research vessel Deepscan, where Captain Alistair Matheson will use sonar equipment to explore the water.

6. Le Petit Chef

Le Petit Chef, India

Open: Now until 31 August
Location: New Delhi, India
Experience Sector: Immersive dining

Popular immersive dining concept Le Petit Chef is ready for service in New Delhi. Brought to life by Belgium-based firm Skullmapping using 3D projection mapping tech, Le Petit Chef has served multisensory meals in key cities around the globe, including London, Singapore, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur.

For its Indian leg, the world’s smallest chef will be setting up residency at Shangri-La Eros, guiding diners on a gastronomic journey of multiple courses and culinary twists and turns complete with tableside theatrics and top-drawer storytelling. The 90-minute experience can be laid out for up to 32 in each sitting. We’ll leave the details of the menu under wraps, as we don’t want to spoil the surprise…

7. Barça Immersive Tour

Barça Immersive Tour, Spain

Open: Now
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Experience Sector: Sport

FC Barcelona has added an immersive twist to its museum experience, which has decamped to a new part of its stadium while renovation works on the Camp Nou get underway. The museum has moved to the Palau de Gel, and, in addition to trophies galore, one of the main attractions is an immersive space that allows visitors to get up close and personal with former and current Barça players, including Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Johan Cruyff.

To get some of them back in a Barça jersey, the museum used deep fake tech and actors that resemble the players to create four-meter tall holograms projected into the expansive circular space, which used to be the club’s ice rink.

8. Yayoi Kusama Museum

Yayoi Kusama Museum, Tokyo

Open: Now
Location: Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Experience Sector: Museums and galleries

If you happen to be in Tokyo then be sure to swing by the Yayoi Kusama museum in Shinjuku dedicated to the 94-year-old queen of polka dots. Her latest exhibition allows visitors to step inside her fantastical world and get inside her head. Famous for obsessive repetition of a single motif, Kusama’s art blurs the line between self and other – a concept she calls “self-obliteration”, which was born from childhood hallucinations.

The show spans different artistic periods from Kusama’s prolific career, including early drawings, acrylic paintings and large-scale 3D works paying homage to the psychedelic movement. Installations include a hexagonal Mirror Room from a series from a solo exhibition in New York in the late ‘60s.

9. J Crew Virtual Beach House

J Crew Virtual Beach House

Open: Now
Location: Online
Experience Sector: Experiential retail

If you’re not able to get to a J Crew store then stepping inside the US retailer’s Virtual Beach House is the next best thing. The preppy brand has launched an immersive beach house with a 3D experience to mark its 40th birthday. Featuring six distinct rooms and a boathouse, it’s powered by Obsess’ experiential e-commerce platform.

Fans can learn about the brand’s heritage via interactive content and shop for the latest summer styles in the innovative digital format. In the Floral Room you can hunt for Made-in-Spain espadrilles while learning about the 14th-century origin of the design. The Virtual Beach House also features an engaging catalogue cover pop quiz and an interactive scavenger hunt.

10. Dalí Cybernetics

Dalí Cybernetics, London

Open: Now until 3 September
Location: London, England
Experience Sector: Immersive art

If you’re curious to delve deeper into the inner workings of Spanish artist Salvador Dalí’s mind, then head to The Boiler House on London’s Brick Lane, where a cutting-edge exhibition lifts the lid on his life. Called Dalí: Cybernetics, the show harnesses the power of VR and blurs the lines between the physical and digital. Dalí’s works are given the 360-degree digital treatment, making use of 3D glasses, floor-to-ceiling projections and music to bring them to life.

The exhibition includes a 15-minute metaverse experience where you can don a VR headset, step inside Dalí’s world and interact with the artworks in real time. Elements from some of Dalí’s most iconic works, such as The Ants and The Persistence of Memory are within touching distance.

11. Shanghai Film Arts Center

Shanghai Film Arts Center, China

Open: Now
Location: Shanghai, China
Experience Sector: Immersive cinema

Having long served as the principal hub for the annual Shanghai International Film Festival, when over a million movie buffs flock through its doors, the Shanghai Film Art Center has reopened following a year-long renovation and is bigger, better and brighter than ever. The venue has undergone a dramatic transformation, which is apparent as soon as you step inside.

The new look lobby boasts a giant LED canopy stretching almost 30 meters long and 6 meters wide, which harnesses cutting edge naked-eye 3D effects and immersive stereo sound in order to screen trailers of upcoming blockbusters in all their glory. The No. 1 hall, meanwhile, has been upgraded into a 1,000-seater Dolby Auditorium immersive audio-visual space. 

12. Gotham

Gotham, New York. Photography by Chris Coe

Open: Now
Location: New York, US
Experience Sector: Experiential retail

If you like your weed with a side dish of culture then head to Gotham, New York’s first luxury cannabis dispensary and gallery space featuring products from a host of NY-based brands and Gotham’s own line of offerings. Located in the city’s Bowery neighbourhood, the store sells everything from cannabis edibles and vaporisers to pre-rolls and tinctures, alongside Edie Parker clutch bags, accessories from House of Puff and Gotham-branded apparel.

Decked out like a chic boutique and aimed at female professionals, the airy space was designed by Cinema Vitae and features wood panelled display units where coffee table tomes jostle for space alongside cannabis pens, and a tree rises up through the centre of the store. Upstairs on the mezzanine is a gallery featuring works by local artists.

13. Hope By Patricia Piccinini

Hope by Patricia Piccinini at the Tai Kwun gallery, China

Open: Now until 3 September
Location: Hong Kong, China
Experience Sector: Museums and galleries

Hope is the first solo show in Hong Kong by renowned Australian artist Patricia Piccinini. Taking place at the Tai Kwun gallery in Central, it features over 50 artworks, including hyper-realistic sculptures, paintings and moving images. The exhibition explores the unexpected consequences of tampering with nature, raising crucial questions about the impact of science on humanity.

Among the largest works on display is Celestial Fields, an intricate immersive installation made up of 4,500 flower stems. Also look out for a 20-metre-high installation of multi-coloured wigs spun together and suspended from the ceiling. This is interactive art at its best. Piccinini fans can also get involved in film screenings, workshops and tours.

14. Illuminate Adelaide

Illuminate, Adelaide

Open: Now until 30 July
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Experience Sector: Immersive entertainment

As Australia enters its winter season, the chilly nights are made more bearable with the arrival of Illuminate Adelaide, which brings together the best and boldest in art, music, technology and invention from around Australia and the world, and sets them loose across the city. South Australia’s premier winter event turns Adelaide’s streetscapes and iconic locations into a citywide spectacle that encourages you to rekindle your sense of wonder.

Mixing free and ticketed events by local, national and international artists, among this year’s immersive events is an experience from the visionary team behind Light Cycles, Resonate, that will make you see the Adelaide Botanic Garden in a new light. Architects of Air: Arborialis, meanwhile, is an inflatable labyrinth of colour and light at Rymill Park/Murlawirrapurka.

15. Claude Monet Belfast

Claude Monet, Belfast

Open: Now until 31 August
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Experience Sector: Immersive art

Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast, is the latest stop on the immersive Claude Monet tour, which will see the French Impressionist’s works brightening Carlisle Memorial Church – one of the 100 most endangered historic buildings in the world. The 360-degree interactive exhibition is set across 20,000 square feet and features light and sound displays and two-storey projections.

Lasting around 90 minutes, among the digital showcases are Monet’s best-loved works, including Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies, which is considered one of the greatest paintings of the 19th century. Visitors can also feast their eyes on Monet’s 1873 painting, Poppies, and Haystack, which he created during the summer of 1891. The exhibition is also currently touring Europe and the US.

16. Dimensions Enigma

Dimension Enigma, France

Open: Now until 31 August
Location: Nice, France
Experience Sector: Immersive entertainment

Nice is currently playing host to an immersive exhibition inspired by Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer and futurist Nikola Tesla, who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system. Visitors are invited to cross the threshold and enter another dimension to unravel the mysteries and enigmas of Telsa’s eccentric experiments through interactive installations combining sound, light and extravagant scenery.

All is not what it seems, however, as some of his experiments, such as the inter-dimensional door and his obsession with electricity, have transformed the venue into a labyrinth full of surprises, so expect the unexpected…

17. The ChangiVerse

The ChangiVerse

Open: Now
Location: Online
Experience Sector: Experiential retail, metaverse

If you’re keen to have a snoop around one of the world’s most acclaimed airports but don’t want to schlep to Singapore for the privilege then you can take a trip to the ChangiVerse and tour the airport from the comfort of your own home. Accessed via gaming platform Roblox, the ChangiVerse is a digital twin of Changi Airport in Singapore where users can explore familiar landmarks such as the control tower and indoor waterfall.

Divided into three sections: Jewel, Terminal 3, and Airport Boulevard, each boasts virtual representations of the airport’s renowned sights. In a bid to engage new audiences, the Singapore Tourism Board has also developed an immersive virtual experience called Singapore Wanderland on Roblox, where gamers can explore the city-state’s iconic landmarks.

18. PopStroke

Popstroke, US

Open: Now
Location: Texas, US
Experience Sector: Competitive socialising

Swingers listen up – golf pro Tiger Woods is expanding his experiential putting and casual dining concept, PopStroke, across four states this year, including new 18-hole putting outposts in Texas’ San Antonio, Dallas and College Station. Created by Woods and his TGR Design team, the courses are built entirely with synthetic turfs, incorporating fairways, bunkers and rough just as you’d see on a traditional golf course.

The experience can be enjoyed by everyone from amateurs to pros. After nailing that hole in one you can cool off with a craft beer and some street food at the venue’s outdoor dining area. Or, if you’re feeling flash, you can have your grub delivered to you anywhere on the course mid-game if you order it on the app. 

19. The Real Unreal by Meow Wolf Grapevine

Meow Wolf Grapevine’s The Real Unreal, Photo by Kate Russell courtesy of Meow Wolf

Open: 14 July
Location: Texas, US
Experience Sector: Immersive

Meow Wolf has thrown open the doors to The Real Unreal, the fourth immersive art exhibition by the Santa Fe-based company, which has been crafted by 40 Texas-based artists and over 150 Meow Wolf artists and fabricators. Situated inside Grapevine Mills, a mall in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, guests will enter through the Delaney family home and explore its everyday ephemera which hint at a mysterious disappearance. In signature Meow Wolf fashion, what happens next is a swift freefall down a narrative rabbit hole.

“Meow Wolf Grapevine represents years of thoughtful collaboration from artists in New Mexico, Texas and beyond, and begins a new chapter for Meow Wolf,” says Sarah Bradley, Senior Creative Director at Meow Wolf. There will also be a café with both grab-and-go and dine-in offerings and a gift shop featuring Meow Wolf’s signature swag allowing guests to take home a piece of their experience. The latter will be open at times for mall-goers without the exhibition ticket.

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