Why we built a fully working lift in the middle of our office

In order to be able to develop impactful solutions for clients, we often find ourselves working at the very edges of our imaginations, a creative process which involves not always knowing the exact how of a project at its start.  However, we pride ourselves on going the extra mile to make amazing creative communication ideas a reality - a particularly good example of this is the conception of our elev8 solution.  

We were approached to create an immersive experience within lifts at the new Edinburgh St James Quarter shopping centre. We needed to design and deliver a solution that would match the high standard of this contemporary, high-end shopping destination, meet the regulations for a brand-new building, run autonomously and continuously without any input from the team and provide a safe environment for  any conceivable user of the lifts.

'On-paper' designs weren’t going to be enough to nail this tricky brief, so in early 2021, we built a full-scale prototype of the lift in our office in Manchester.  The power of being able to stand within our proposed solution can’t be overstated. For example, once the prototype was up, we could quickly see that in order to create an immersive environment, we needed a greater pixel density on the displays than had been originally considered.

Having a prototype onsite meant we could directly experience the demands created by the sheer size of the canvas itself - how fast-moving content was, whether the content could induce motion sickness (!) and, of course, the time needed to render these massive landscapes.  We were able to  develop and test a bespoke, logic processing control system and create a tailor-made dolly needed to install the screens within a tight space. Using our 3D spatial environment software, CAVRNUS we were able to then collaborate remotely with the client to demonstrate the user experience and receive real-time feedback.  

The prototype allowed us a deeper level of planning and forethought, which meant the eventual installation could be executed safely and efficiently, even within the parameters of the overall construction programme and an ongoing global pandemic.  

The project took just over 12 months from formal commencement of design to commissioning of the lifts ready for the opening of the shopping centre. If you’re in Edinburgh, St James is well worth a visit and we'd love to know what you think of the lift experience!

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