Holovis uses Christie for projection mapping show in the Royal Liver Building, open to public after a hundred years. All photos: Jason Roberts
Many of the world’s cities have iconic buildings by which they are instantly recognised; whether it is the Empire State Building in New York, the Opera House in Sydney or London’s Big Ben, you instantly know which city you are in when you see the building. The Royal Liver Building, which dates from 1911, could be said to do the same for Liverpool – there is an instant connection between building and city. This close bond also extends to the city’s inhabitants and this relationship entered a new phase with the opening of the Royal Liver Building 360, a visitor attraction that has allowed, for the first time in its 100+ year history, members of the public to cross the threshold of the building.
The attraction is located on the world-famous Mersey waterfront area, the cultural hub of the city. Originally the headquarters of the Royal Liver Assurance Group and once Europe’s tallest skyscraper, the building is now owned by a partnership that includes Heritage Great Britain. Plans were submitted by CBRE, the planning consultancy, for a 21st century upgrade to include Grade A office accommodation, a new restaurant, gym and cycle facilities and a state-of-the-art visitor experience. The experience is laid out in three separate zones; a visitor centre and reception, projection mapped show in the clock tower on the 10th floor and panoramic views of the city experienced from the 15th floor viewing platform.
Visitors start their journey on the ground floor of the building where they can download an interactive Augmented Reality app allowing them to delve deeper into the architectural designs of the building. This was designed and created by experience designer Holovis to further extend and enhance the guest visit through 20 interactive moments that flow throughout the journey. The app acts both as a guide to the venue and allows guests to transform photos into videos, and to unlock voice over narratives and more imagery. It also allows visitors to hold their mobile over the cityscape and reveal pertinent information about local landmarks. Visitors then descend to the clock tower for the main show.
The clock tower has been brought to life with an immersive projection mapped show, delivered as a turnkey production by Holovis including media produced in-house by Holovis Creative. This tells the story of Liverpool; from the industrial boom of the late 1800s to the tragic effects of war and a celebration of the city’s vibrant culture, all viewed from the iconic building and waterfront perspective. Unlike traditional projection mapped experiences that take place externally, Holovis decided to use the internal walls of the clock tower, surrounding guests with 270-degree visuals to immerse them into the story. The multisensory immersion is completed with surround audio, comprising of an original score and sound effects that are delivered through a 5:1 solution.
The main challenge for Holovis was to create an impressive projection mapping display within a small space. Although the space only has room for 16 people at a time, Holovis drew on their growing experience of creating smaller-scale, indoor projection mapping works. Holovis used a four channel Christie D20WU-HS 1-DLP projector solution, chosen because they are lamp free, resulting in a longer lifespan, a low cost of operation and minimal maintenance, with no consumables to monitor or replace. They also feature Christie’s patented BoldColor Technology, which enhances colour and saturation without sacrificing brightness.
“A successful projection mapping show is all about drawing the audience in,” commented Peter Cliff, Creative Director of Holovis. “With a combination of compelling storytelling and great technology – including Christie projectors – we were able to do that. Visitor feedback and numbers plus a happy client are testament to that success.” Since the launch in 2019, the attraction has proved to be a huge success, so much so that it has now extended its opening hours to cope with demand.