Experience Radar: Chefs Are Enhancing The In-Flight Experience, And Adidas Launches Artist Residency

At The WXO, we want to connect the dots across the Experience Economy and across the globe – so each month, 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 the latest Experience Radar, where we’re chowing down on Michelin-starred nosh at 15,000 feet, controlling computers with the tip of our tongue, and getting spooked in Dracula’s den in Hell’s Kitchen.

1. Chefs Are Enhancing The In-Flight Experience

Headline and above image; UNIQLO Tate Play, London; Cathay Pacific Business class dining experience, Hong Kong

Eating at 15,000 feet has a notoriously bad reputation, with airplane food offerings known for being bland, uninspiring and anticlimactic. Fortunately, things are starting to change as an increasing number of airlines have been busy upping their food game via collaborations with top-name chefs in order to elevate the in-flight dining experience. As reported by Condé Nast Traveller, Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific is working alongside Michelin-starred venue Dudell’s to allow travellers to taste-test their way through Hong Kong’s vibrant food scene with a menu of authentic dishes exclusive to the airline.

Early to the mile-high Michelin party, Brussels Airlines has been in on the act since 2013, when it started working with Geert Van Hecke of the two Michelin-starred La Durée. The current chef in charge of on-board culinary theatrics is Michaël Vrijmoed of the two-star Vrijmoed in Gent, who has created a seasonal menu for business-class travellers showcasing classic Belgian recipes made with locally-sourced ingredients. Welcome to the era of plane food that’s anything but plain. 

2. Adidas Launches Web3 Artist Residency

Web3 digital artist residency program, Adidas

Keen to make waves in the metaverse, sports giant Adidas has launched the brand’s first Web3-led digital artist in residency programme. The ‘Residency by Adidas’ programme will give digital artists from around the globe the chance to showcase their work and collaborate with the brand on digital and physical items. The initiative, which went live during Korean Blockchain Week in Seoul, was introduced by the brand’s Three Stripes Studio, which launched in January to oversee Adidas’s Web3 efforts. Kicking off the programme, the residency launched with artworks created by Tokyo-based MonkeeMoto and Lebanese artist Adra Kandi, known as Dear Nostalgia.

Each created a limited-edition NFT drop, restricted to 100 works per artist, and priced at 0.15 ETH, solely for Korean Blockchain Week attendees. “This project is another big step for our Studio as we continue to explore, experiment and diversify our impact and value in the Web3 Community. When we looked at what our brand and community has represented in this space, it felt like a natural step to create an even stronger pathway and platform for some of the coolest and most engaging artists in our community,” said Stacey King, global head of communications for Adidas Studio.

3. Why Galleries Need To Be More Interactive

UNIQLO Tate Play, London

The Tate’s managing director, Carmel Allen, has spoken to BlooLoop about the need for the old gallery model to be turned on its head in order to attract new and younger audiences and spark joy. Going forward, Allen believes galleries need to be more collaborative with their visitors and treat them as co-creators. “Tate Modern broke the model in the sense that people feel it’s very participatory. In the Turbine Hall you see people interacting with the art and the spaces in a much more friendly manner,” she told BlooLoop. Recent initiatives have included UNIQLO Tate Play, a free programme of art, activities and play aimed at both children and adults.

“Seeing people enjoying and being part of the artwork is wonderful. The participation and interactive element is what’s unique to Tate,” said Allen, who also spoke of the transformative power of art during the interview and her desire for people to feel like the gallery and artworks belong to them. “I’m keen on the idea of social prescribing of the arts. If we can encourage people to feel that these spaces are theirs and to come, galleries have a transformative power,” she said. “Just being together and experiencing art in some way is wonderful, whether you have to be prescribed it by your doctor, or you just have this sense of – come: enjoy this, it’s yours.”

4. Controlling Tech From The Tip Of Your Tongue

MouthPad by Augmental

A groundbreaking new device promises to transform how people with spinal disabilities use tech, allowing them to control devices with the tip of their tongue. The ‘MouthPad’ is a high-tech digital interface developed by Augmental, a spin-off company of MIT. Comprised of a customised, 3D-printed dental resin product similar to a retainer that contains a battery, microprocessor, circuit board, pressure sensors and a Bluetooth module, the MouthPad works by translating the position and pressure of the wearer’s tongue into control commands on Bluetooth-connected devices such as smartphones and laptops. The pad features motion sensors that can detect head tracking, and bites can be registered as clicks.

While the tech is aimed at those with limited to no hand movement, it could also be used as a way of enabling high-end multi-tasking, shaking up the way we interact with tech. The device ticks a number of trend boxes, allowing for hands-free digital control while also tapping into the trend for customised wearable tech, with each pad created from 3D scans of the user’s mouth. It’s a giant leap in the arena of assistive technology, offering a clever solution for people who lack the use of their hands to control their devices. “Interactions with these systems must be designed to cater to how humans perceive, process and act,” said Tomas Vega, co-founder of Augmental.

5. Shaking Up The Customer Experience

LifeVerse Studio by SBI Life Insurance

Hoping to “revolutionise the customer experience” in the metaverse, India-based SBI Life Insurance has launched a ‘LifeVerse Studio‘ in order to engage with the next generation of consumers. Utilising AR and VR tech, the LifeVerse Studio allows users to create their own avatars and connect with a diverse set of audiences. Accessible via the ‘About Us’ section on the SBI Life website, the platform features inspirational narratives centred around influential millennials such as Anshula Kapoor, Durjoy Datta, Anushka Rathod, and Tejas Joshi, to inspire the next generation to pursue their dreams and fulfil their potential.

Ravindra Sharma, chief of corporate communication at SBI Life, said of the venture: “As a customer-centric organisation, we are committed to advancing digital innovations that enhance customer experiences. Foraying into the metaverse by launching the LifeVerse Studio, we embark on a new and transformative journey that not only reshapes perception towards life insurance but also redefines brand-consumer interactions.” He added: “We embrace the new platform to empower our customers, enabling them to connect, explore, be inspired and cultivate meaningful engagements in a truly immersive manner.”

6. Pocket Planet To Revitalise Oxford Street

Pocket Planet, London

Leisure experience developer Pocket Planet is taking the concept of miniature worlds to the next level with a 30,000-square-foot indoor immersive experience including 50 metres of frontage on Oxford Street. Set to attract over a million visitors a year and support the revitalisation of Oxford Street, Pocket Planet retail and café will open in Spring 2024 and the Pocket Planet exhibit will open in early 2025. The attraction will feature large model landscapes of UK landmarks, the city of London and a selection of scenes from around the world augmented with moving planes, trains, vehicles and boats.

Utilising the latest cutting-edge audio-visual tech, Pocket Planet will take miniature world model making to the next level, enhancing the physical models with audio and visual effects. “Our plan for Pocket Planet is for it to become the UK’s largest indoor miniature world and London’s favourite attraction,” said Mark Vlassopulos, Pocket Planet’s CEO. “Pocket Planet will be on the scale of something that London hasn’t seen before. It will be a visual delight, both for the models and the audio-visual elements.” Mark Brodermann, the firm’s COO, added: “The team we’ve put together draws on the best of breed in leisure interior design and some of the greatest modellers in the world.”

7. Dracula Experience Comes To Hell’s Kitchen

Photo courtesy of Bucket Listers

New Yorkers get ready, as a vampire masquerade is making its debut in the Big Apple this autumn, which promises to be nightmarishly immersive. As reported by Time Out, Dreams of Dracula: An Immersive Masquerade Experience will recreate the classic Dracula universe as a new vampire theatrical adventure. Running until 11 November at Musica NYC in Hell’s Kitchen, Gothic and Victorian costumes are encouraged and it’s strictly black tie at weekends. Putting a new spin on the Bram Stoker classic, the choose-your-own-adventure event whisks visitors through two floors and six rooms across 25,000 square feet for a potent mix of immersive theatre, dance and masquerade.

Created by Never More Immersive, the language and symbols of dreams are woven throughout the show, which takes immersive to the next level. Visitors can have their dreams analysed, help co-create a Gothic ghost story, and have an ode written and recited to them. The adults-only experience includes nudity, hypnosis, tarot readings, scary tales, darkness, flashing lights, thunder, lightning and blood. Don your masquerade mask and swing by the Oscar Wilde Salon for Dracula-themed cocktails and don’t miss the luxurious private room with two-way mirrors, where you can watch the story unfolding but remain unseen.