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Heritage and Innovation. Amazing immersiveness on a large scale

The Ellinikon Experience Centre by

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The Ellinikon Experience Centre - main

Together with Greek leading real estate developer Lamda Development and other partners, Dutch digital-first agency Media.Monks created The Ellinikon Experience Centre. A truly innovative, interactive and immersive visitor centre, showcasing The Ellinikon. A groundbreaking urban redevelopment initiative located on the historic grounds of the former Ellinikon International Airport in Athens.  

About The Ellinikon

Lamda Development’s vision is to revitalise this iconic site into a dynamic hub that integrates modern living, green spaces and cutting-edge technology. Preserving heritage but also embracing progress. The Ellinikon aims to set a new standard for sustainable urban development. Blending innovation, sustainability and culture to create a vibrant, forward-thinking community.

About The Ellinikon Experience Centre

The Ellinikon Experience Centre was developed to share The Ellinikon vision with local and global communities. It is an interactive hub that showcases the development through play and discovery. A vision for the future - through immersive stories and experiences.

 An 1,800+ m2 former airport hangar was turned into an interactive museum from scratch. Media.Monks handled the creative direction, spatial design, content, physical build and integrated production of the full visitor experience, including the website. One of Media.Monks' most ambitious projects so far.

To transform the airport hangar into an interactive museum, and to highlight the cultural significance for investors. But also to make it accessible and relatable to local audiences. To ensure that every visitor - from Athenians to international guests and investors - feel the heritage, and are inspired by the innovations of The Ellinikon project. This resulted in an integrated user journey through 5 different zones with 22 interactive experiences.

Media.Monks had to coordinate a wide range of talent and expertise, including experiential, branding, XR, UX, animation, art & illustration, development, copy, design, web and sound, to make this happen. 

Strategy & Creative Direction

The first challenge was to get a holistic overview of the project and its significance. To create an overarching concept that would be relatable and yet novel for both local and international audiences. 

Looking at the amount of history and sentiment connected to the Greek Golden Age of Travel, Media.Monks decided to take the Spirit of Flight - the force responsible for the powers of movement of the wind and air - and the seamless movement of air as a central theme.

User Experience (UX)

To turn 1800+ m2 into an appealing and informative experience, Media.Monks had to find the right balance between different exhibition formats. 

Ranging from large-scale interactive pieces like the 8 metre in  diameter maquette to smaller interactions, bite-sized content and analogue artifacts spread across different areas. In order to support the narrative and make sure the experience is suitable to visitors of any age and for any level of engagement.

The Ellinikon - maquette diameter

Design & Technology

The main objective of the experience centre was to bring to life a future district that will be built over the next 25 years. In order to do so, Media.Monks have used all the available architectural, landscape and technical drawings in order to create a virtual twin of Ellinikon.

When designing installations, Media.Monks went for intuitive and tangible experiences. For example, visitors can take an XR boat or bike ride to enjoy future views of the coastline. Or they can explore an indoor phygital (physical + digital) botanical library, experiencing the future coastal park of Ellinikon and discovering native plants that will eventually inhabit the district.

For each touchpoint they have used a combination of spatial elements, storytelling and tech - easy and intuitive to interact with. For example, the maquette of the future district located at the heart of the experience centre, can be explored through a combination of simple hand gesture interaction, colourful projections and animations highlighting interesting facts. These highlights were also visualised on the back wall behind the maquette.

The Ellinikon - boat

Content & Storytelling

For a full understanding of The Ellinikon development plan through an immersive experience, the most significant elements of the future development were selected, and turned into interactive stories that flow through different zones and installations - from sustainability and green technologies behind the future development to emotional aspects behind rejuvenation of Ellinikon land.

Production

Within a tight timeline a truly integrated process had to be managed, combining all types of production such as Concept Development, Design, Digital Content Production, Software Development, Engineering, Spatial Design, Fit-out, Sound Design, Physical Build and AVHW/Show Control - as well as coordination with multiple parties.

Testing

Due to the restoration of the hangar and other on-site works, Media.Monks did not have full access to the space to install and test the work in situ at all times. To tackle this, for some installations and physical experiences digital twins were created in VR that would allow them to do early testing and reviewing of the actual experience. 

Fact

It took over 100 Monks and one year to create this amazingly immersive experience. 

In the first few weeks alone more than 15,000 people visited the experience centre. The experience centre has become an Athens destination, and was featured in several media outlets like Timeout and Wallpaper as a must-visit. It is also the biggest visitors centre of its kind in the world.

The Ellinikon - botanical library

Awards

  • Eventex Award - Gold in category: Brand Experience - Exhibition Experience
  • Lighting Design Award - category: Visitor Experience & Museum Exhibition