Sorolla. Traveling immersive exhibition
With 230K visitors, "Sorolla, through the light" is an immersive exhibition (LBE Location Based Entertainment) that covers the life and work of the painter Joaquín Sorolla with an unprecedented approach. For the first time, 45 original paintings by the artist come together in the same place alongside immersive rooms with a 238m2 LED volume and a Virtual Reality Premium experience. The exhibition is itinerant and is conceived to be within historical spaces that dialogue with the exhibited work. 14 months uninterruptedly between Madrid (Royal Palace) & Valencia (Bancaja Foundation). I fully design the Virtual Reality experience as well as the exhibition route map and the technology solutions of the entire expo.
Promo VR.Video created by Univrse, responsible for the VR programming
Using LED screens instead of projectors was one of my forceful technological proposals. From the beginning of the project, I designed the sensory rooms with interconnecting screens. The decision makes special sense when we talk about Sorolla, the painter of light. The LED modules perfectly depict his brushstrokes and his dazzling way of capturing light. Tey are an example of our approach in this project: choosing technology for its ability to narrate. The screen visuals were the work of the talented team at Karmachina.
The Virtual Reality is designed as a time travel to 1909 through tunnels of time. First we come to Valencia at the time when Sorolla finished his famous painting "Walk along the sea". Next, we arrive at a rug with a central implosion effect that is a tribute to the contemporary artist Faig Ahmed. In this new space, after various interactive episodes, a series of decontextualized objects fly over us. Little by little the floating objects are acquiring their final position until they form the studio of his house-museum in 1909 in Madrid. At all times, the users are of tiny dimensions so that the characters and landscapes feel immense.
On the occasion of the centenary of Sorolla's death (August 10, 2023), the government of Spain declares the year Sorolla. The “Centenario Sorolla” brand is created with the aim of promoting the image of the painter internationally through a series of activities. This exhibition is the central project of the centenary. It has been managed by Light Art Exhibition, also promoters of the project, and has had the curators Blanca Pons-Sorolla Ruíz de la Prada and Consuelo Luca de Tena, leading expert figures on the painter. From Mediapro, we have worked hand in hand with the promoters and the curators to achieve the best result. The exposition has garnered support from diverse entities, institutions, regional and national governments, as well as the Royal House of Spain.
An unprecedented exhibition model in the world that combines large-scale LED volumes with prestigious original artwork and a premium Virtual Reality experience.
More than 60 original paintings by Sorolla, 238m2 of LED volumes, 32 million pixels, Freeroam wireless LBE multiuser experience.
The main television networks in Spain covered the exhibition in their news programs, dedicating prime time spots to it with specialized coverage. The major media outlets did interviews, articles and reviews in all formats, announcing the opening of the exhibition.
The inauguration was on February 16, 2023, one day before the opening to the public. It was attended by prominent members of the government, Patrimonio Nacional and representatives of large entities. The act was presided over by their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain.
The expo has exceeded 230K visitors (between both cities). With a capacity for 1,500 people a day, it has been and has been one of the most visited temporary exhibition of the year in Spain. The transgenerational and international profile of the visitors makes the expo a claim for all types of public. The virtual reality experience is enjoyed by people with disabilities, wheelchairs or reduced vision. Undoubtedly, one of the great successes of the expo is having such a constant and diverse audience. Due to the public attendance, the exhibition has been extended for 3 more months in Madrid, with total of 12 months between both cities.
The expo was hosted at the Royal Palace of Madrid, the largest operational royal palace in Europe and one of the world's most extensive, boasting 3418 rooms and covering an area of 135K m2. It is the most visited monument in Madrid with more than 1M people per year. The exhibition took place in the 13 adjoining rooms set aside for temporary exhibitions and it featured 24 original paintings by the artist. Sorolla was a close to King Alfonso XIII, who lived in that same Palace and whose portrait is part of the exhibition. An exclusive entrance has been set up through the Plaza de Oriente. Expo dates: 17/02/2023 - 24/09/2023
The expo was hosted at the Bancaja Foundation, an emblematic exhibition center formed by two historic buildings joined internally with a total of 12K m2 in the heart of Valencia. The foundation already has a relevant Sorolla collection and has been the headquarters of the “Vision of Spain” exhibition from The Hispanic Society of New York (HSNY) to Spain. The exhibition featured 45 original paintings by the artist, 4 of them on loan from the HSNY. The expo is held in the room also titled Sorolla. Expo dates: 05/10/2023 - 18/02/2024
The Virtual Reality experience of the Sorolla Through the Light exhibition has won two INMERSIVA XR 2023 awards: Best Creative Concept and Greatest Business Vision. These awards annually recognize the best Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality projects from Spanish companies. In line with the goals of INMERSIVA XR, the Extended Reality Association of Spain, the awards aim to acknowledge companies that stand out for the development of innovative, high-quality XR projects with a forward-looking vision.
Sorolla in Valencia.Summary video of the exhibition at the Bancaja Foundation
The expo proposes a new paradigm of immersive exhibition where technology is chosen for its narrative contribution and engage in dialogue with the original paintings. Comparison with the usual approach of so-called immersive exhibitions: Setting. historical building vs industrial spaces // LED. high definition modular screens vs video projectors // VR Avant-Garde. multi-user freeroam model vs static VR // Original work. +60 original paintings by Sorolla vs full digital expo // Rigor. expert curators in the painter vs generalists. To refine technical and visual solutions, we conducted various VR tests with an audience, requesting them to fill out detailed surveys at the end of the experience.
It is a Virtual Reality zero-latency free-roam experience, allowing individuals to navigate the space wirelessly (LBE). The model supports continuous flow and multi-user participation, enabling multiple groups to enter simultaneously, eliminating the need for passes and preventing separation between participants. The headsets have hands tracks and identifiers that transfer each user to an avatar with a unique ID number. Each user can touch interactive elements in real time through their avatarized hands. VR headsets. HTV Vive Focus 3 (standalone) // RT engine. Unity
With a total of 238m2 and 32 million pixels, the immersive rooms transform a protected historic building into a cutting-edge technology zone with spatial sound. The LED installation has been a logistical challenge, requiring the creation of corridors and rear structures to access the complex system of wired Cabinets (LED modules). LED pixel pitch. 2.6 // LED structure. 8 walls, 2 rooms // LED measures. 53m (wide) x 4,5m (heigh) // LED audio. spatial sound with 8 channels
Overall direction & promoters. Light Art Exhibitions // Tech partner. Mediapro // Contributors. Patrimonio Nacional, Museo Sorolla, Fundación museo Sorolla // Curators. Blanca Pons-Sorolla Ruíz de la Prada, Consuelo Luca de Tena // LED content. Karmachina // LED screens. Videoreport (Tres60) // Overall Set design. Jesús Moreno y asociados // VR development. Visyon // VR programming. Univrse // VR + LED set design. REZ studio
Business opportunity. Aníbal Santaella // Creative direction & tech concept design. Aníbal Santaella // Business leader. Juanjo García // Project manager. Isaac Bergadà // LED manager. Julio Chorro // LED & VR set design. Vicente Gómez // On-site installation manager. Aurora Violeta Rodríguez
Creative direction & production pipeline. Aníbal Santaella // VR project manager. Carolina Caluori // VR project manager support. Oriol Rubio // CTO. David Bardos // Unity project manager. Marita Sumelkstyte // Art direction. Alejandro Asenjo // CGI lead. Alberto Capo // CGI modellers. Xavier Santed, Ernest Sanchez, Rene Acuña y Artzai Elorza // VR technical artists. Hoda Rawas y Guillem Vila // FX artist. David Sillero Bermejo, Carlos Calvo // Motion graphics. Andrea Díaz
Thanks to Cristina for believing in me, to Blanca for her devotion to Sorolla and extraordinary generosity, Gonzalo for his trust, Juanjo for his elegant management and to Isaac, David, Manuela, Violeta and Carolina for making the impossible come true. In general, many thanks to each and every one of you who were part of this constant and skilful team. I think we knew how to rise to the occasion.
One of the most visited spanish inmersive expo with a 230K audience