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Orlando International Airport reimagines the passenger experience

Designed by Gentilhomme Studio, the Experiential Media Environment (EME) project creates a series of architecturally scaled immersive art installations dedicated to original and interactive content, taking a real-time, interactive and immersive storytelling approach to digital public installation

Orlando International Airport (MCO) is taking a real-time, interactive and immersive storytelling approach to digital public installation in its new terminal, exploring the knowns and unknowns of greater Central Florida. Designed by Gentilhomme Studio, the Experiential Media Environment (EME) project reconsiders the passenger’s relationship to the airport by offering unexpected moments of magic that restore the joy and wonder of air travel. 

Opening 29 September, the new Terminal C will offer travellers a unique multimedia experience created by Gentilhomme Studio with Sardi Design, with an impressive digital canvases within distinct architectural structures: the Moment Vault, Windows on Orlando and the future Portal. Each installation has its own experiential identity reflecting the surrounding landscape and hosts hours of custom-created content that celebrates the beauty and transformative development of Central Florida, one of the world’s richest ecosystems. This is a first of its kind for a digital public art installation in the aviation space. 

Hours of live action, original sound composition, CGI and interactive custom content will tower within 114ft wide displays across 3,888 sq ft of custom LED panels. Epic Games’ Unreal Engine was used to create a 360-degree photo-realistic interactive experience at high resolution. These screens will feature a multitude of capsules spanning from underwater manatees swimming in the crystal rivers to massive bird migrations, while also exploring Orlando’s lesser-known vast ranchlands as well as the city’s downtown skyline. These experiences will provide a welcome oasis for passersby. 

Moment Vault, located in the Palm Court at the centre of the airside terminal, is designed for immersive interactive experiences supported by digital capture and state-of-the-art 3D motion-tracking sensors/cameras; Windows on Orlando comprises a triptych of 32ft-tall displays spanning 114ft with panoramic views into live action scenes, creating a visual illusion of unfolding points of interest outside the terminal; and the future Portal, debuting in 2023, is designed as a four-story double-sided 360-degree surround display in the arrival-departure hall. 

The world’s seventh-busiest airport in 2021, Orlando International Airport (MCO) currently accommodates over 45 million annual passengers. The new Terminal C, at 1.8-million sq ft, is anticipated to receive an additional 10 to 12 million travellers a year. 

The EME project was a collaborative effort among the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Gentilhomme Studio, Sardi Design, Burns Engineering, MRA International Group, Hahn International, SACO, Smart Monkeys, Electrosonic and many more. These partners went to great lengths to produce an impactful experience depicting iconic Floridian landscapes and culture, with an overall objective of creating lasting and memorable connections with visitors passing through MCO. The project’s interactive storytelling approach creates one of the world’s largest and most engaging experiences for travellers of all ages.

“At Gentilhomme, we create meaningful and enchanting immersive experiences,” explained Thibaut Duverneix, founder and CEO of Gentilhomme, and Orlando EME creative director. “For Orlando International Airport’s new Terminal C, we brought together a dedicated team with diverse technical skills to design and execute installations that can live indefinitely in a transient environment within and specific to the architecture. Producing interactivity at this scale is ambitious and requires a large amount of effort and attention to detail, but the process itself was magical. From swimming with the manatees to observing NASA launches, filming the documentary-style live action scenes was a one-of-a-kind experience. Our team is excited to see how travellers will interact with the content and what kind of impact it will bring to the overarching passenger experience for years to come.”