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Experience Radar 53: Burberry Enters Minecraft Universe And More Experiences Go Tech-Free

At The WXO, we want to connect the dots across the Experience Economy and across the globe – so each week, we’ll be bringing you our round-up of the experiential stories that we think reveal something interesting, relevant or transferrable about the Experience Economy.

Welcome to Experience Radar 53, where we’re getting the lowdown on Las Vegas’s disruptive new entertainment space, kicking back with a Piña Colada in Bali via the Lucky Ape Travel Club, and finding out what life looks like in 2071.

1. Vegas To Get ‘Disruptive’ Entertainment Venue

Headline and above image; Museum of the Future, Dubai; Sphere, Las Vegas

The future of entertainment, it seems, is spherical, as news reaches us that a giant dome with capacity for 20,000 spectators is due to open at The Venetian in Las Vegas next year. As reported by BlooLoop, the cutting-edge Madison Square Garden Sphere will be home to the world’s highest-resolution LED screen, boasting over 170 million pixels and a resolution of 16K x 16K. The $1.86 billion event space, which is being billed as “the largest spherical structure in the world”, will feature a 160,000-square-foot display plane that surrounds the audience.

The Sphere, which will have an exterior LED display, Holoplot sound system and 4D elements including wind, scent and vibrating seats, will be used for a host of events, from immersive experiences and live performances to custom-made attractions. “The nature of the screen here redefines the term ‘immersive’. It reimagines how we use a venue and how creatives build a show. We have so much screen, so much technology, and so much scale, we can really wow audiences and take them to different places,” Alex Luthwaite, VP of show systems technology at Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp, told BlooLoop.

2. Burberry Enters The Minecraft Universe

Minecraft x Burberry Freedom to Go Beyond DLC

In a rather unlikely collaboration, British fashion house Burberry has partnered with gamers’ favourite Minecraft on an in-game adventure and capsule collection. As reported by License Global, the game, called ‘Burberry: Freedom to Go Beyond’, and the capsule collection, which includes a range of extensions, were launched to bring the brand to a new audience. The game, designed by Minecraft mapmakers Blockception, takes inspiration from Burberry’s heritage and features an Equestrian Knight character and Thomas Burberry Monogram maze.

The capsule collection includes everything from trench coats to hoodies, hats and scarves adorned with virtual landscape scenes from the game and graphics of Minecraft creature Creeper. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Minecraft to bring the Burberry brand story to life in such an immersive way,” said Phillip Hennche, Burberry’s director for channel innovation. “We hope to connect communities and inspire our consumers with a new way to experience our brand.” This isn’t the first fashion/gaming hook-up – Ralph Lauren and Balenciaga have both collaborated with Fortnite on in-game clothing and real-world merch.

3. NFTs Are Changing The Travel Industry

Lucky Ape Travel Club by Bored Ape Yacht Club

NFTs are changing the shape of the travel industry by upping their utility, giving their holders access to luxury perks and exclusive travel experiences. As reported by Wunderman Thompson, NFT art collective Bored Ape Yacht Club launched the Lucky Ape Travel Club in April with a travel-inspired NFT collection of 10,000 minted NFTs offering a host of benefits, from stays at exclusive resorts and passes to VIP events, to plane tickets to the tropics. Travel Club members are also invited to annual in-person parties and have access to the Odyssey Lounge, where they can book stays at exotic member locations around the world.

The concept is clever, as it creates a high-end, members-based community centred around luxury travel and cultural exploration. NFT holders are not only paying for access to exclusive events, but also to get closer to the influential people in attendance. “The metaverse and its supporting tokenomics are promising to raise the bar of our links to reality and one another. LATC’s coordinates are found at the intersection of all those worlds: we enable our members to enjoy this reality while building another,” said Lucky Ape Travel Club’s CEO, Jeff Bordes.

4. Tech-Free Experience Economy On The Rise

Annabel’s, London

While the metaverse continues to make a lot of noise in the media, a quieter trend is also bubbling away – the rise of the tech-free experience. As reported by Forbes, while tech may be driving the customer experience right now, a growing cohort of experience specialists are banning mobile phones at their events in a bid to help people switch off from the daily grind and fully connect with their environment. The controversial move is proving divisive, but is resonating with a growing number of consumers keen to escape the shackles of their devices. 

Private members’ clubs like Annabel’s and Soho House have a no-photo rule on their premises, protecting the privacy of members while adding to the feeling of crossing the threshold into a different world. Secret Cinema was an early adopter of the no-phone rule to allow attendees to fully immerse themselves in the fantasy world they enter on arrival without breaking the fourth wall. Singers are also in on the act, with both Bob Dylan and Alicia Keys banning photos at their shows to stop concertgoers experiencing the event through their screens. Going phone free gives people the feeling of experiencing something exclusive, so we can expect to see more experience organisers following suit.

5. Museum Of The Future Imagines Life In 2071

Museum of the Future, Dubai

Ever wondered what the future might look like? A bold new exhibition at the Museum of the Future in Dubai aims to answer that question. The brainchild of German studio Atelier Brueckner and Killa Design, Journey of the Pioneers takes visitors forward in time to 2071 and is split into three sections focusing on life in space, bioengineering developments, and the future of wellbeing. As reported by Dezeen, each district was designed using different materials and methods to represent their distinct but interconnected narratives offering “moments of tension and release, rhythmic crescendos and phases of contemplation.”

In the space section, which features 3D printed surfaces, visitors can look out from space at a digital image of Earth 50 years from now. In section two an immersive ‘digital Amazon’, complete with rain sounds and dancing clouds, will illustrate how all life in the rainforest is interconnected. In the final section, visitors are encouraged to relax and reconnect with their senses. “The design approach for the whole experience was an exercise in the creation of suspension of disbelief, crafting convincing environments through the choice of materials and the spatial design, and through the intricate score-like staging of the various narrative and sensorial components,” Atelier Brueckner said.

6. Bacchanalia Is Next-Level Immersive Eating

Bacchanalia, Mayfair

Taking the restaurant experience to fantastical new heights is Bacchanalia in Mayfair, the latest outlandish venture from Annabel’s owner Richard Caring. Inspired by the decadent feasts enjoyed in ancient Rome, as reported by The Handbook guests will be encouraged to indulge in the fantasy and will be fed grapes by bronzed gods and goddesses during their meal. Reimagining the debauchery of the Greco-Roman era, Caring has taken the god of wine, Bacchus, as his muse, and hopes diners will tap into his carefree, indulgent spirit.

Helping to bring the concept to life is interior design expert Martin Brudnizki’s dramatic décor, hand-painted ceiling murals, original Greco-Roman artworks and a quartet of epic equine sculpture by enfant terrible Damien Hirst that look like they’re about to break free from their marble columns and charge over the tables. This is imagination on a grand and glorious scale. Inspired by Greek and Italian seasonal produce, dishes by Athinagoras Kostakos like squid-ink risotto have a Mediterranean accent and are designed for sharing. The venue will host a weekly programme of music events and live performances from big-name DJs.

7. Molecule Decides If Experiences Are Good

Illustration by Jason Lyon for Quanta Magazine

A small but mighty peptite decides whether experiences are remembered as positive or negative, scientists have discovered. As reported by Wired, when the brain encodes memories as positive or negative, a peptide called neurotensin determines which way they will go. “The brain assigns an emotional ‘valence’ to information as it encodes it, locking in experiences as good or bad memories,” says Hao Li, a postdoctoral researcher at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California. Certain nostalgic smells will thus be associated with positive or negative feelings, depending on how the memory was stored.

As the brain judges new experiences in the moment, neurons adjust their release of neurotensin, and that shift sends the incoming information down different neural pathways to be encoded as either positive or negative memories. Li believes the brain might be biased towards remembering things fearfully in order to have kept our ancestors cautious towards danger. “You’re more responsive to negative experiences versus positive experiences,” Li said, which makes sense on a survival level, so you remember not to put yourself in danger.

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