New Normals

Dreamscape: leading the new wave of escapist experiences

16 February 2021

By Will Jordan

Dreamscape, an experience series designed by Creative Director Paul Milinski, launched in 2020 to explore new frontiers in environment design during the global pandemic. The company behind the experience, Loftgarden, specialise in creating high-end experiences through 3D renders. Their ethos is ‘reality elevated,’ aiming to push today’s boundaries towards the boundless design possibilities of tomorrow and take our relationship with familiar objects to another level through utopian and surreal environments.

Milinski told Dezeen he is creating worlds that are “surreal but not entirely unattainable, designed to transport you along pathways that illustrate inspiration for a potential future and offer a chance of wonder and escape.” This has been well received during a time when virtual experiences and events proved vital to brands and businesses with the restriction on movement globally.

Virtual environments provide a taste of escapism that everyone has been yearning for.

What does this mean?

The introduction of virtual environments gave us a way of escaping reality from the comfort of the office chair. Instead of passively watching someone explain or show something from their living room, people can now interact with a product or service immersed in virtual retail spaces, fashion shows or conference rooms. Virtual environments provide a taste of escapism that everyone has been yearning for. Not only do they allow users to experience somewhere new but the spaces can be designed with unlimited imagination, allowing infinite possibilities from floating cities and colourful landscapes to barren deserts. As Charlotte Taylor, interior designer and creative director, explains to Dezeen: “utopian and fictional spaces feed into people’s imaginations and appetite for a change of scenery, be it completely possible or not.”

However, with all the virtual engagement through immersive environments and digital ‘getaways,’ we continue to strive for the one thing that has been missing all along: tactility. The pandemic has left us with a drought of creativity and wanderlust. This will influence the design of live experiences moving forward.

The pandemic has left us with a drought of creativity and wanderlust. This will influence the design of live experiences moving forward.

A ‘transportational interior’ trend was already beginning to emerge before the pandemic hit, primarily among cafés and restaurants. This would see people’s dining experience transform an average space to an escapist delight. An example can be seen in the Alchemist restaurant in Copenhagen where customers have a holistic dining experience as the restaurant’s planetarium-like domed ceiling immerses them in a Japanese cherry blossom garden or a mountain top under the Northern Lights.

Finally, this approach has been key for capturing the GenZ audience, who prize experiences and yearn for a story behind every cup of coffee. As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel and the prospect of live events is now closer to reality than before, we will begin to see utopic surreal environments and escapism becoming ever more relevant for live experiences too through the merge of digital and physical spaces.

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