Immersive experiences

People are seeking to participate in deep, immersive experiences that take them away from the reality of their daily lives and enrich their experience of the world around them. Experiences that deliver a sense of theatre and thrill will be truly worthy of sharing.

How is this sub-trend evolving?

How it was

Focus on the hidden treasures of day-to-day life
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How it is

Growing desire for moments of escape from the every day, together with total immersion in the ‘other’
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How it will be

Providing deeper appreciation of an experience by enhancing it with concepts that educate and enlighten

In-market examples from around the world

What: Highly curated series of dining pop-ups that promote and celebrate local, small scale, sustainable, and ethical producers and produce. Diners can mingle with and speak to the producers as they dine together.
Why: “Chapter 53 is driven to source farmers/producers that think like us (and you!) – a little rebellious, a lot mindful, and mostly passionate – and share their stories in speakeasy, symposium style events.” (website) The immersion in this example comes from truly experiencing the world from which the food people are eating comes from – not only the eating itself but the back story, the rich human interaction, and the overall experience. Chapter 53 are trialling Augmented Reality within the dining experience, transporting guests to the suppliers’ local area! “This is taking it to the next level in terms of an artisanal eating experience. This is almost like the food equivalent of going to the national gallery and receiving a guided tour.” (Australian Streetscaper)
What: Food Jams are social gatherings in which eating food is only half the fun. Participants are paired up, preferably with strangers, and each team is given a portion of the meal to prepare and invited to follow the recipe.
Why: This new way of preparing food adds an element of fun and action to a normal meal out, and encourages participants to fully immerse themselves in the experience. Food Jams helps to energize the eating out experience by making it more participatory.
What: Escape Rooms Berlin
Why: The Escape Rooms are booked up months in advance, as they create a real-life detective scenario, where escape from the building is contingent upon teamwork, resourcefulness and clue-solving. This is new generation of gaming, taking gamers out of a digital world into something truly physical and thrilling!
What: Kitchen Theory is an exciting new foods project, where dining and science meet. Diners sample a tasting menu, whilst stimulated by other smells, sights, sounds and textures. Their taste experience changes as a result!
Why: The boundaries of experience are being pushed further than ever before, and the boundaries between the senses are blurring. How can the look, feel and smell of your product impact its taste, and the consumer’s overall experience?
What: Tim Horton Coffee Co blacked out one of their stores, inside and out, giving night-vision goggles to customers daring enough to venture inside. They then conducted taste tests and an immersive call for coffee-drinkers to “discover their dark roast personality”
Why: Moving away from ordinary eating out experiences, Tim Horton Coffee Co created a completely new experience for experiencing food.
What: Sublimotion in Ibiza is a “360 degree sensual-gastronomic experience,” according to the Spanish food press. As ‘participants’ work through the menu, the space around them changes with every course.
Why: Sublimotion offers another dimension to food, transporting customers to different places, each with its own ambience.
What: Austrian-owned Zotter Chocolate Theatre in Shanghai is a factory offering an immersion into the world of cocoa and chocolate making.
Why: Fused with a European atmosphere you wouldn’t find elsewhere in Shanghai, educational demonstrations become a form of culinary theatre here.
What: Red Bull Station is major new cultural venue in a gentrified part of São Paulo. It aims to foster the creation of art and music, involving visitors in the process by allowing them to observe the workings of the resident artists and musicians.
Why: This answers a growing demand for people to not only witness the finished product but actually be deeply involved in the artistic process.