Shortlist Revealed: The WXO Experience Awards

On Wednesday June 12, more than 270 people will gather at the House of Yes in New York to celebrate the first ever WXO Experience Awards.

We want to bang the drum for the Experience Economy by shining a light on experience excellence, showcasing the good, great, and innovative in five categories: the Art, Science, Business, Technology and Impact of Experience.

Anyone was able to nominate – either their own experience or someone else’s – before a jury of 13 experiential pioneers whittled down over 165 entries to our shortlist of just 26 finalists below.

Now, WXO Expert Members have until Tuesday June 11 to vote for their winner in each category, before we reveal our innovators at a glittering ceremony on the first day of this year’s World Experience Summit.

And the finalists are…


Experiences that are immersive, innovative, engage the senses, and make people feel something through outstanding design and/or operations.

Space Explorers: THE INFINITE

Fewer than 300 humans have been to the International Space Station (ISS) in the past twenty years of its existence. Space Explorers: THE INFINITE offers visitors the opportunity to experience life beyond Earth in virtual reality. The experience, co-created by PHI Studio and Felix & Paul Studios, is the world’s largest immersive experience about space exploration, which can pulse more than 150 visitors at the same time. It invites visitors to roam freely inside a virtual life-size replica of the ISS, bringing audiences closer to the feeling of being in outer space than ever before.

The experience is based on the Primetime EMMY-Award® winning series “Space Explorers: The ISS Experience”, the world’s biggest media project ever filmed in space, created and produced by Felix & Paul Studios in collaboration with TIME Studios and NASA. It has welcomed over 400,000 visitors to journey into space with the only 3D 360-degree content ever filmed inside and outside the ISS.

Luna Luna

Luna Luna Forgotten Fantasy, Los Angeles

The original Luna Luna opened in 1987 with rides, games and fairground attractions designed by heavy-hitting artists including Salvador Dalí, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein. Canadian rapper Drake invested US$100m into restoring the park, which takes over a 60,000-square-foot warehouse complex on the outskirts of downtown LA.

Recently Luna Luna: Forgotten Fantasy is ran in LA until late spring and featured an enchanted forest by Hockney, a Ferris wheel by Basquiat, and a carousel by Keith Haring, where the artist’s curved creatures come alive as toy-like blocks. Part entertainment event and part historical show, the theme park includes live performers.

Beyoncé: The Renaissance Tour

Renaissance World Tour, Beyoncé, The Netherlands

The Renaissance World Tour was the ninth concert tour by American singer and songwriter Beyoncé. Her highest-grossing tour to date, amassing $600m, it was staged in support of her seventh studio album, and featured set design, the use of technology like robots and kinetics, interplay between man and machine, and choreography, all directed by the interdisciplinary genius Beyoncé.

Convergence Station

Convergence Station by Meow Wolf, Denver, US

Meow Wolf’s Convergence Station is set across four stories, houses more than 70 unique installations from over 300 artists, and promises “immersive psychedelic, mind-bending art and an underlying rich narrative as you take a journey of discovery into a surreal, science-fictional epic”. They sold an astonishing more than 100,000 tickets in pre-sales. It blends interactivity, art, social justice through its story and incorporating local artists to create a never before seen immersive experience to the starving arts city of Denver.

Rumble In The Jungle Rematch

Rumble In The Jungle Rematch

Rumble in the Jungle Rematch is a live immersive event like no other. Reimagining the epic fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman that took place in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974. Rematch takes a sporting story at its heart and creates an enlightening, passionate, emotional, engaging and totally unique experience, allowing fans to reexperience this incredible story first-hand. The fight is surrounded by a groundbreaking music festival – Zaire 74, brought to life through a 7 piece live band – The Zaire 74 All-Stars.

The event took 22,000 fans over 78 performances. A 30,000 sq ft warehouse in London was transformed, split into multiple areas allowing audiences to explore everything Kinshasa had to offer, taking in the music, the food, the fashion and all of the circus and hype surrounding the build-up to the fight. The production took a conscious decision to tell the story from the Congolese perspective. This gave the show a fresh, inclusive and intimate tone, and allowed it to integrate a more balanced and diverse set of characters to the dramatise the experience, whilst offering a new perspective on the historical events.

AURA Invalides

AURA Invalides is a 50-minute journey beneath the Dôme des Invalides. At night, the monument transforms into a dynamic world of video mapping, lighting, special effects, and orchestral music, showcasing the site’s rich history and architecture. The experience transports visitors on an emotional journey to explore Les Invalides in a meaningful and spectacular new way.

The challenge of creating AURA Invalides was monumental: transform the iconic space while respecting its architectural integrity and cultural heritage. Inspired by the work of visionary architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, AURA Invalides highlights a classical architectural masterpiece of harmony and perspective. The collaborative proposal provides exceptional heritage sites with a fully integrated solution encompassing creative direction, technological infrastructure, operations, promotion, and long-term marketing.


Experiences that apply learnings from science in an engaging, novel or compelling way.

The Hum

Gen Cleary’s The Hum takes the latest insights in neuroaesthetics & wellbeing & applies them to a audio-immersive experience. The Hum is a 10-foot sculptural work with a cradle space where the user can relax and experience the transformative effect vibrations have on the body via vibro acoustic technologies. It features a bespoke soundscape journey via Sony’s 360 Reality Audio, curated by Mobius8 and Snow Raven.

Utopian Garden

Designed by flora&faunavisions, Utopian Garden is a 45-minute story-based fully-immersive interactive experience driven by co-creation. Visitors actively build their journey, interacting with dynamic projections in beautiful visual scenes focused on three chapters. A fully original, dynamic sound design paired with breathtaking digital art ensures that visitors are fully immersed.

Told over three gamified chapters, Utopian Garden explores how SCIENCE, NATURE, and ART can come together to create an exquisitely imagined digital paradise. The SCIENCE chapter emphasizes curiosity and exploration and highlights how examining repeating patterns in nature can lead to new discoveries. Visitors can create and play with gameified ‘supershape’ elements based on mathematical and scientific formula.

Forest Bathing: Lupuna

Forest Bathing Lupuna

Based on the concept of “experience as medicine,” a spa was transformed into an experiential wellness piece by created by Marshmallow Laser Feast in partnership with TheLoveTriangle and White Mirror, and commissioned and funded by Thermengruppe Josef Wund.

The team visited the Amazon to lidar scan a tree and capture sounds using ambisonic microphones. By integrating nature and sensory design principles, they created an immersive experience featuring an actual waterfall, rain, steam, fractals, spatial sound, and vibroacoustics to evoke the feeling of being in a rainforest. They worked with researchers in biophilia, neuroaesthetics, and sound design to develop these intentional effects, ensuring a scientifically grounded and impactful experience.

The Uncertainty Experts

The Uncertainty Experts is an interactive, three-part documentary series built on University College London research that’s part education, part entertainment, and all impact. Is it a documentary? Is it employee & leadership training? Is it group therapy… at scale? It’s all these and more: Uncertainty Experts takes the science, mixes it with compelling zero-to-hero journeys (drug addict / ghetto / convict / prisoner of war to survive and thrive type stories) and not only shows you how to deal with uncertainty, but also gives you a visceral experience of this.

Deep Space 8k

Three visually stunning dimensions, 33 million pixel resolution and a high-performance laser tracking system make the Ars Electronica’s Deep Space 8K one of the most interesting digital experience spaces in the world. It hosts concerts of various genres accompanied by immersive visualisations, unique visual experiences that encourage interactive participation, and inspiring lectures by top-class experts on topics that determine our lives.


Experiences that are profitable, repeatable, scalable, or achieved great things with a small budget.

Johnnie Walker Princes Street

Johnnie Walker Princes Street stands at the heart of Diageo’s £185million investment in whisky tourism in Scotland. Set within an Edinburgh landmark transformed, offering eight floors filled with breath-taking bars, event spaces, and views across the capital and castle, Johnnie Walker Princes Street already had the perfect ingredients to stand as one of Scotland’s finest attractions. But add into the mix a laser focus on creating story-rich, transformative guest experiences, and you have a destination unlike any other in Scotland.

Targeted to international and domestic tourists, as well as the local community, Johnnie Walker Princes Street takes visitors on a journey of discovery, where they learn more about whisky flavour creation, Scotland, and themselves. Guests explore the brand story and process in ways that awaken and open their senses, then taste the whisky in a variety of ways to discover just how enjoyable whisky can be. This leads to another main objective: to create a lasting emotional bond between visitors and the brand.

Phantom Peak

Set across 30,000-square-foot in a Wild West-themed town, Phantom Peak is the brainchild of Glen Hughes and Nick Moran. Part immersive theatre, part escape room, part real-life TV series, it’s now due to open a sister site in the US as part of a bold expansion plan that includes five new locations. This is thanks to a model that encourages repeat visits – 70% of people stay until the very end of its 5-hour run time, and 30% come back again.

The College Of Extraordinary Experiences

At the College of Extraordinary Experiences, over a hundred people from all over the world come together for five days to explore the realm of experience design. It was born from a desire to change how professional networking and learning take place. It is an invitation to an immersive experience that allows people to learn about experience design in a hands-on way. 

Meow Wolf

If we asked you to name the biggest immersive success story of the 2020s, we’re pretty sure that Meow Wolf would be one of the first – if not THE first – names on your lips. The collective has launched exhibits in Las Vegas, Denver and beyond, and is soon to hit five. Sold over 300,000 presale tickets for Convergence Station. Been talked about everywhere from The New York Times to The Economist to Forbes. They’re making money, raising funds, and providing work to hundreds of artists, producers and creatives. Oh, and redefining what immersive art means along the way, bringing interactive and psychedelic experiences to the masses.


Repeat customer numbers that most businesses would dream of: 40% of customers are repeat customers. OK, that’s helped because they also offer memberships & their focus is being a local FEC – they think families won’t travel so far (and that’s true! Ask Leisure Development Partners! & see the Campfire with their MD & Donnacadh O’Briain). One of their members came 23 days a month… But it’s not just fun for kids (like so many play centres) but also for them to learn.


Experiences that use new or emerging technology, or apply any technology in a way that really elevates the experience.

SAM AI Experience

Tellart’s immersive experiment featuring new AI entity ‘SAM’ provoked a fresh perspective on the way we use AI for personalised and interactive entertainment in an exhibition space. The interactive experience encouraged audiences to share personal reflections to co-create a personalised cinematic showing. The one-day private experience was an experiment showcased on the large immersive screen at Amsterdam’s digital art museum the Nxt Museum.

Creative technologists used a local webserver running p5.js to connect to the audience’s phones and collect their data. Then they used OpenAI’s ChatGPT for script-writing, prompt writing and to generate the voiceover. Then they used Stable Diffusion for image generation and Stable Video Diffusion for video generation. Lastly, they used TouchDesigner for show control and to stitch everything together to play video and sound.

The Messi Experience

Produced, created and designed by Primo Entertainment and Moment Factory, The Messi Experience is a ticketed touring attraction inspired by the life and career of soccer legend Lionel Messi. It utilizes state-of-the-art technology to transport visitors into an immersive world of football.

By incorporating 360-degree mapping, 3D visuals, and artificial intelligence, fans can step into the shoes of the legendary player and relive his most unforgettable moments. The experience takes it to the next level with digital on-ball activities that are updated in real-time with live scores, allowing visitors to feel like they’re part of the action. Moreover, through personal virtual interactions with Messi himself, fans can enjoy a truly unique and interactive experience.

Beat The Storm

Beat The Storm is a unique attraction that allows visitors to discover the power of nature by experiencing the wind, from a gentle breeze to a Category 2 hurricane. In the last decades, the world has seen many great innovations due to VR and digital technology, but not much has been invented to provide real physical experiences.

Beat The Storm is a unique, new, patented technology – the first horizontal wind tunnel for people to play and learn about the invisible power of nature: wind and aerodynamics. It is designed with a sustainable approach, featuring medium/high throughput, low operation costs, low electricity consumption, and low noise emission.

The Ring Cycle

A pioneering fusion of classical opera and cutting-edge technology, flora&faunavisions “The Ring Cycle” is a revolutionary production of Richard Wagner’s epic “Ring des Nibelungen” featuring the groundbreaking digital set design This reinterpretation breathes new life into “The Ring Cycle”, transforming it into a contemporary fantasy land and establishing the world’s first fully digital realization of Wagner’s epic. Spanning a total runtime of 15 hours, the production involves 83 musicians and 102 voices, with flora&faunavisions’ digital design setting new standards through the application of the latest technologies in stage design and lighting.

The digital set features giant LED screens choreographed to move seamlessly across the stage. Fifteen rear-edge panels and eight additional side panels, capable of spatial movement, enhance the immersive experience. In “Die Walküre,” a central seven-meter-high white tree—a 3D-scanned bonsai tree scaled up—takes the spotlight. This immersive, kinetic, and interactive stage design seamlessly blends real opera singers with LED screens, creating awe-inspiring visual effects. flora&faunavisions invested years developing the kinetic digital set, integrating motion tracking for actor interaction with synchronized animations. Costumes incorporate signaling devices, and motion sensors record actors’ movements.


DreamCo utilized a proprietary StableDiffusion AI model uniquely trained for each location, blending visitor inputs with creative prompts to create unique dreamscapes. The project showcased autonomous, high-performance hardware that operated completely offline, ensuring resilience and data privacy compliance.

Its sustainable, modular setup allowed for fast and easy installation, minimizing energy consumption and waste. This combination of cutting-edge AI and sustainable design significantly enhanced the immersive experience, making technology an integral part of DreamCo’s innovative exploration of human imagination.


Experiences that have a positive impact on people, society, community or planet, whether through enhancing wellbeing, bringing people together, or being truly sustainable.

Our Ocean Our Future

Our Ocean, Our Future by Hidden Worlds & The Island of the Bahamas, Miami

An eco-conscious, immersive art and fine-dining experience combining cutting-edge projection mapping, 360-degree soundscapes and physical installations with an ocean-centric chef’s tasting menu, all with the goal of highlighting marine ecosystems and inspiring ocean conservation.

The world’s only experience optimized for scientifically proven impact. A lot of experiences claim impact but have not been proven to generate impact and/or have a replicable framework to ensure impact. Hidden Worlds’ Our Ocean has created both the framework and the proof of impact.


Dreamachine is a “one-of-a-kind immersive experience” that takes audiences on a magical journey into their own minds. Unlike many immersive works of scale or spectacle, the kaleidoscopic world created by the Dreamachine comes from within. Designed by Turner-prize winning artists Assemble, with a score composed in spatial sound by Jon Hopkins, the experience generates a luminous world of colours, patterns and psychedelic imagery behind your closed eyes, created by the power of your own brain and completely unique to you. 

A sell out success across the UK, Dreamachine reached over a million people across the in 2022, attracting over 500 press features and 5* reviews. But it was so much more than a media hit. Like a secular temple, the experience provided a rare space for shared reflection, and many visitors described profound and transformative emotional responses. Over 20,000 people created illustrations of their experience, producing one of the largest collections of publicly generated artworks in the world. Tens of thousands of colours were reported, with many witnessing colours they have never seen before. Many blind and partially-sighted people even described seeing colour for the first time. 

Singing With Nightingales

It brings people in direct contact with nature and is one of the few experiences out there that collaborates with other species directly in their habitat to create impact. Transformational experience on how people perceive wilderness/birds and has a direct action package of people divesting from harmful investments/actions.

The GoodRx GoodBoys and GoodGirls Puppy Park

In April 2024, we set out to have a profound positive IMPACT on attendees of the Asembia 2024 summit, with an experience they had never had before, because it was the right thing to do for the people there, for the funds raised for a local Las Vegas community organization, and because we wanted to break the mold (again) of what this conference has been for the last 20 years.

We created the GoodRx GoodGirls and GoodBoys Puppy Park, with trained therapy dogs giving joy to attendees, and attendees raising money for ongoing support to the nonprofit who trains the therapy dogs for people who need them. OUR IMPACT: 400+ Visitors to our Exhibit Hall Booth, 100+ GoodRx Education Trivia Games Played, $7,000+ in donations to therapy dog training service Michael’s Angel Paws. Created a new yet memorable and meaningful experience to Asembia. Provided an oxytocin boost to all with a bridge to discuss our pet health articles and petmeds cost saving

Dinner In 2050

The AI-powered Dinner in 2050 was a first-of-its-kind interactive storytelling experience that made climate change real on a plate for guests at COP28. Designed to be a transformative way to shift deeply ingrained habits by focusing on strengthening food security in a region already at the frontlines of climate change. Our custom immersive AI model tailored favourite meals to the food substitutions needed in that region in order to achieve net zero in 2050. Tellart conceptualised, designed and produced an immersive installation that provokes fresh views of the food we eat, and how this contributes to food security and sustainable living in an intimate, playful setting.

Lamb was swapped for grasshoppers, broccoli for algae, and beef for lab-grown meat. Standing around a table made of sustainable palm wood, guests speak their favourite meal into a microphone. Tellart’s custom AI model identifies the top ingredients in their meal, selects which ingredients have the highest carbon footprint, chooses sustainable alternatives (based on U.N. data), then generates a future version of this dish with an informative description. Guests learn how their meal can impact water and energy use, carbon emissions and biodiversity, and improve their nutrition.

Winners will be revealed in a ceremony on Wednesday 12 June at the House of Yes in New York City, and announced on social media shortly after.