The Garden of Light uses the latest LED pixel lighting and immersive audio technology to create a stunning 360 degree virtual garden environment and is part of the expansion of McArthurGlen Designer Outlet, Ashford. In tribute to Kent’s status as the ‘Garden of England’, The Garden of Light provides shoppers with a multi-dimensional walkthrough experience designed to stimulate the senses and reflect on visitors’ connection with nature. The experience will also feature Europe’s largest living wall installation, made up of more than 120,000 leafy green plants, and although the experience is free, visitors are encouraged to donate money towards building a sensory garden for the William Harvey Hospital.
Light is the key factor of the installation, and the immersive and interactive experience offers shoppers a journey into a lush secret garden through projection and LED, with elements of the four seasons accompanying their journey; Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.
- Visitors enter through a light filled wintery tunnel, with visible light rays cascading through the walls and floor. At the end of the tunnel, a rear projection display presents visitors with a macro winter scene, that comes to life with colour through interactive hand gestures and touch, revealing a bright spring scene.
- Stepping into spring, a fresh woodland scent fills the space, transporting shoppers into the lush surroundings of The Garden of Light.
- The journey from spring to summer offers visitors colourful and rich projections on all planes of the room. A magnificent tree stands as the centrepiece of the attraction, connecting the floor to the ceiling with light chasing upwards to the 10m wide canopy. The inside of the trunk reveals an LED kaleidoscopic light show displaying a deep celestial scene.
- Throughout the immersive experience, moving particle elements invite visitors to explore with interactive zones on the floor and walls and play with interactive content. The LED within the tree trunk is brought to life from these actions, sending light further into the mesmerising canopy.
- Visitors will hear a soundscape of ethereal melodies throughout, whilst triggering individual sounds through spatial and gestural interactions.
- An interactive path from summer leads into an autumnal setting, where an overhead LED light sculpture creates shadows of falling leaves that gust and gesture guests towards the exit, accompanied by the sounds of rustling leaves,
Riaz Farooq, Creative Director at Pixel Artworks comments, “Producing The Garden of Light has truly been a creative journey through a multitude of artistic and technological disciplines. Collectively we have explored the boundaries of motion design and real-time graphics, effectively creating a living game-like environment, full of discovery and play.”
The Pixel Artworks team used TouchDesigner (TD), a powerful visual development tool, to combine projected visuals, pixel lighting and intuitive interactions. TD also facilitated the management of multiple arrays of continuous projector outputs on several canvases - all vastly different in nature. In total, 16 projectors will create over 200,000 lumens throughout the installation.
“Real-time generative content has been a focal point of achieving a beautifully fluid, unique experience in the space – something we’ve only seen achievable to this extent in Notch,” said Haaziq Farook, Senior Technology Consultant. “The recent integration into TD opens up a new world for us in this installation. We’ve manipulated incoming sensor data using TD, and affected parameters in Notch inside a single project. The net result is an optimised workflow to output precisely triggered, high quality motion graphics.”
Peter Corr, Centre Manager at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Ashford also comments: “In celebration of the £90 million expansion opening this autumn, we wanted to offer visitors a brand new experience. With The Garden of Light guests can expect to journey into a virtual garden of discovery, exploring nature’s four seasons represented through the power of light. We are committed to elevating our guests shopping experience and we are thrilled to be partnering with Pixel Artwork to deliver a unique multi-sensory installation to McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Ashford.”
Laurence White, Business Director, Pixel Artworks, said, “We were excited by McArthurGlen's proposal from the outset. The scope to design and deliver all aspects of a unique shared immersive experience ticked all our boxes. It has been a joy to collaborate in partnership with McArthurGlen to make this project become a reality.”