Future entertainment1 March 2023
/ Aya, Dubai’s new experiential entertainment park, is a tribute to this city of the future /
Tourism, luxury and technology: these are the 3 pillars on which Dubai has founded its new life as a city of the future. In its history, the Emirate went from a past as a pearl-diving hub, through an oil-powered ascent in mid XX century, to the huge investments that transformed the city since the 1990s, and keep transforming it, into a destination that is now famous all over the world. Tourism, with 17 million visitors a year; luxury, with landmarks such as the Burj Al Arab (the only 7-star hotel in the world) and the man-made Palm islands. And technology: Dubai has invested consistently in things like 5G connectivity, high-speed public transportation, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things, which means having all kinds of objects throughout the city that are connected to the Web, for a more advanced and interconnected way of living.
Fully in line with this philosophy, in December 2022 Dubai saw the grand opening of Aya, a new experiential, immersive and highly technological entertainment park set in WAFI City Mall. Featuring 12 fully immersive zones spread across 3,700sqm, Aya combines art and the latest technology to take visitors on a trip to a beautiful universe, where they can drift through space, among millions of stars, relax in gardens of light, and step through a river of color where every step generates swirls and pools.
The new park “fits Dubai’s aspirations to become the city of the future,” said Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture). “Aya represents a quantum leap in Dubai’s innovation process, and it enhances Dubai’s capabilities to attract creative talent who can benefit from the opportunities the emirate provides them with.”
When they enter Aya, visitors leave behind the real world to create “memories of the future” in an environment that is greatly Instagrammable and photo-worthy, but also fully high-tech. The first room, “Aurora”, which acts as the heart of the whole experience, allows visitors to use their gestures to interact with 21sqm of artwork, cosmic dust and stars. “The Source” is a mystical chamber with a 6-minute long LED interactive display. “Drift” allows visitors to relax on a slope while an overhead projection and gentle vibrations make them feel like they were floating on air. The audio-responsive “Falls” feature water droplets that seem to fall upwards, revealing hidden doors surrounded by water. Inside the 9-minute show in “Flora” presence detection technology transports visitors into an intelligent oasis of all living things. “Tide” is an infinite mirrored chamber adorned with LED totems and an interactive monolith that tells a story in four different chapters. And there are even more room, closing with “Harmonia”, a three-minute-long robotic light show in a mirrored infinity zone that stretches far into the distance.
Aya is a project by HyperSpace, a Dubai company founded in 2020 and specializing in entertainment venues that combine the physical and the digital aspect. “We chose Dubai as the destination for Aya, our first immersive entertainment park, as it is a city invested in future-culture, with a demanding and digitally active tourist and resident market,” said Alexander Heller, CEO of Hyperspace. “Aya has been designed to evoke wonder and awe in an out-of-this-world trip to a beautiful universe that will light up social media feeds everywhere. This next generation experience combines entertainment and interactive technology to deliver immersive storytelling in an entirely new way, a first for Dubai and for the world.” A “first” that is already looking well into the future: HyperSpace’s plans already include more parks throughout the Emirate and in other major world cities in the near future.
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