Embracing new technology with Heritage in Motion 2021 winners: Casa Batlló ‘10D Experience’
Heritage in Motion is a competition recognising innovation by the creators and users of films, games, apps and websites on themes related to Europe’s heritage. Amilcar Vargas tells us about the Casa Batlló ‘10D Experience’, which was the winner of the ‘Best Achievement Award’ and the ‘Games and Interactive experiences’ category in 2021.
In autumn 2021, Europeana was proud to be part of the international jury for the annual and prestigious Heritage in Motion awards, run by Europa Nostra and the European Museum Academy. In this theme, we talk to the 2021 award winners and find out how the cultural heritage sector is using new digital technologies in their inspiring projects.
Today, Amilcar Vargas, Responsible of World Heritage at Casa Batlló, tells us about the Casa Batlló ‘10D Experience’, winner of the ‘Best Achievement Award’ and the ‘Games and Interactive experiences’ category.
Can you tell us a little bit about your winning project?
This project began in 2015 after we saw how happy visitors were to discover Casa Batlló (a UNESCO World Heritage site designed by Antonio Gaudí in Barcelona) with the help of a smartphone that expanded the contents through the use of Augmented Reality. There, we discovered that using innovation and technology in the service of culture could enable us to design the most fascinating cultural experience in the world.
The 10D experience opens up 2,000 square metres of Casa Batllo that have never been seen before. The Gaudí Dôme uses more than 1,000 screens and 21 audio channels to share the origins of the inspiration of the genius Gaudí. And the Gaudí Cube is the first six-sided LED cube in the world, presenting the work of the digital artist Refik Anadol.
After a lot of intense work, the 10D experience of Casa Batlló was nominated for a Heritage in Motion Award because of the outstanding combination of analogue and digital technologies. The work included a three-year long restoration of the property and an update and upgrade of the visitor experience. We tried to enhance the discovery of Casa Batlló using cutting-edge technology and careful curatorship to merge contemporary and historical components easily and smoothly.
What did using digital media/technology make possible for this project?
The technological interventions developed for the Casa Batlló experience take advantage of the best of traditional restoration techniques along with content curation that focuses on offering a journey into the mind of Gaudí. Through this experience, we can share with our visitors the art and nature that inspired the brilliant architect.
The new staging of Casa Batlló aims to preserve cultural heritage and renew its story through new technologies with the same innovative and disruptive spirit that characterised Antoni Gaudí. It is the most ambitious initiative in the history of Casa Batlló and aims to transcend the local and national sphere and become an essential landmark of the city of Barcelona. The technology has been selected carefully and integrated in a comprehensive customer experience using emotional storytelling to touch all the human senses. Technology has become a great ally for Casa Batlló, it does not replace the traditional heritage values but enhances them.
How have your audiences reacted to this project?
Overall, the full cultural experience is much appreciated and visitors rate the 75-minute experience very highly, rating it as 9/10, with 61% rating it with a score of 10. Some visitors highlight how impressive it is to see Gaudí's Cube, while others prefer the new audio guide narration and soundtrack. We have started to receive recognition and awards from all over the world and we are gaining many new followers.
What have you learned about working with digital cultural heritage from this project?
Everything we do challenges the status quo, and we believe that everything can be done differently. We challenge the status quo by creating a surprising and exciting experience, that is fun for all ages, and in which the beauty of Casa Batlló is discovered.
We’ve combined the desire to preserve the universal value of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with our passion for creativity and technological innovation to design one of the most immersive and multisensory experiences in the world.
Casa Batlló is always innovating and new content is planned as communication technologies and digital art evolve. We have taken a very important leap forward but the innovations do not end here. With this new cultural visit we are starting a new stage in the life of Casa Batlló and we want the world's leading audiovisual technology to find in our house of light and colour a welcoming space that increases the value of the house and the visitors’ experience.
What difference does winning an award like this make to your project/future work?
The Heritage in Motion Award is one of the greatest recognitions that Casa Batlló has received in recent times. It makes us feel very proud of the collective work carried out over more than six years in which hundreds of people from very different disciplines have participated. We believe that the other participants in this competition have made very important contributions to the world of museums and heritage, so we are very proud to have been selected by the jury to win the Games and Interaction category and the Best Achievement Award. At Casa Batlló we will continue to innovate and we hope that we will soon be able to add new content to the experience of those who come to visit us.