What does it feel like when "the future is now"? To most people, it is little more than a catchy slogan that they overhear from the TV or video ads now and then. With the rapid development in science and technology, people have quickened their pace in pursuing the future. In 1946, the first computer in the world, ENIAC was born. In 1969, the Internet was created by four American universities on four computers. In 1975, the first personal computer became accessible to mass consumers. Scientific and technological advances are being made at an ever-accelerating tempo, and visibly changing our lives. Just think back, to what extent how has your life changed between 2000 and 2020?
But today, the prophecy "future is now" has been quietly turned into a reality. This Immersive Space for the Flaneur in Wuhan is the best interpretation of the "future" by a group of ingenious designers. The project is located in WuHan - Qiaokou District, Hanzheng St., with an area of over 800 ㎡. It is a showroom of Wuhan's cityscape to the world. Space features light paths and amorphous images produced by more than 100 industrial-strength projectors. It breaks down the barrier between the virtual and the real and recreates the city's lightscape at a miniature scale after accurate calculation and measurement. When visitors wear the band distributed at the entrance to interact with the scenario, they would invariably exclaim: “The future is now indeed.”
The Immersive Space for the Flaneur comprises of four sections: "Health", "Happiness", "Wealth" and "Fosun". The themes of the first three sections are "Forest of Light", "Sea of Joy" and "Universe of Stars" respectively. Upon entering the space, the visitor is first greeted by the Health section, "Forest of Light". The word "health" often conjures up the cold clinic feel that is associated with the medical and pharmaceutical professions. In this project, the clinical austerity is offset by a vibrant tree-lined boulevard with dancing light and shade in the Health section. In the space where green and brown mix, dapples of light pass through the leaves. The designer adroitly incorporates medicine, capsule robot and other high-tech elements into these projections. When the visitor walks, the projections move with him before falling onto a big tree symbolizing life. Here, visitors can interact with the neighborhood with his smart band, which collects the wearer's health data (height, weight, body fat rate and BMI...) through sensors. Then, the smart band calls out the ultimate offering of the neighborhood: a customized health consultant. This consultant will provide pertinent health advice and recommend health products and services for the wearer.
The following section is "Sea of Joy" with a focus on happiness. As the name suggests, the projection and color scheme of this section are related to the sea. There are white whales swimming overhead and jellyfish spawned amid light. Within dozens of steps, the visitor can ride the waves and appreciate the kaleidoscopic world. In this section, the smart band features interaction on family travel planning. The visitor can search the information about the scenes he finds interesting in the virtual and makes travel plans for the family. Besides, the visitor can also customize a personalized beer can which will be presented as a souvenir at the close of the journey.
The third section, "Universe of Stars", is about wealth. Unlike the foregoing two sections, the projection is no longer enveloping, but is represented as dots of starlight which coalesce into finance-themed planets of insurance and fund, etc. When the visitor pulls the rod, balls are shot forward to introduce in detail the relations and operations of all the business modes and industries in the city. Finally, the visitor passes through the channel of the "honeycomb of wealth" and experience the infinite conceptual extension of the city in a space created by the infinite mirror. In the end, all the elements return to the same place guided by light and shadow, before heading for the next destination—
Fosun is the final step of the project, where all the elements in the showroom connect and come together. Fosun not only represents the beginning and end of the journey, but serves also as a platform for brands of the city to express themselves and exercise imagination. After a unique experience through a bounded and unbounded space where fiction and fact alternate and light and darkness blend, the visitor returns to reality after receiving the gift designed by himself during the interaction. The deepest impression they are left with is how the "future is now" can bring convenience to everyday life and provide tailor-made "happiness" for individuals and families. Health, happiness and wealth are all means to the same end: to help the owner experience happiness and contentment in his life. That leads to the final goal of this project: it showcases not only "future is now", but also a future lifestyle in which science and technology produce happiness.