Immersive Innovation for Hendrick’s Portals

During the of summer 2019, we worked closely with set and prop masters, SETWO on a series of bespoke experiences for the premium gin brand Hendricks.  The concept was to transport guests from the mundane to the extraordinary, at a series of immersive Hendrick’s Portals in London and Edinburgh.

The first adventure began at an Lesley’s, an old fashioned laundrette in Shoreditch. However this was merely a front for the fantasy world inside. The journey took people through a washing machine, into a bar up within the clouds. Here drinks were served (Hendrick’s Gin of course) before they returned back to the mundane via a slide. Our involvement in this involved multi-channel audio installations as well as lighting effects to enhance the immersive experience.

The next installation was altogether different – a bank Vault in London Bridge. For this we were required to perform far more technological tinkering, from the beginning of the project, right through to end. Like the laundrette, the façade of the venue was completely transformed. What appeared to be a brick wall containing little but an ATM machine, was actually something far more exciting. It was no ordinary cash dispenser, we had heavily customised it in-house. When guests entered a PIN into the ATM they saw a short video before the wall containing the machine magically swung open. We made this happen with a genuine ATM machine. It’s guts were removed and replaced with a new monitor, PC, Arduino’s and even a custom circuit board. We then programmed it to run the sequence and trigger an electromagnetic lock to open the door.

After exploring the beautifully made bank vault, visitors emerged in a similar “cloud bar” that the laundrette had, where guests could enjoy some Hendrick’s based cocktails. Our next task was to bring people back to reality (the mundane) in the most realistic way possible. We built a 65” screen into a room with the effect being a window in a glass elevator. Loudspeakers were rigged under a false floor and guests were treated to an incredibly lifelike CGI sequence taking them back from the clouds to the city streets. The polished video content was precisely edited with sound effects which caused the floor to vibrate making the experience truly extraordinary! We even surprised ourselves with how lifelike the ‘elevator’ was.

The final leg of the Hendrick’s portals took the elevator to Edinburgh where visitors to a News Kiosk were treated to a journey up to the clouds as well as back down. The project received much press coverage and was a truly memorable project.

Photography credit Kris Humphreys.