An immersive mixed reality experience for the Andy Warhol Museum to help visitors understand the art and the artist better.
User Research, Concept Development,
MR prototyping, Branding ideation, Prototyping
Nov - Dec 2023
Aishwarya Shetty, Avanita Sharma, Maggie Hung, Riley Ren, Myself
Figma, After Effects, Blender, Unity, Rhino, Aero, Quest 3
Designing an immersive, multi-sensory experience to improve a cultural institution’s patron experience.
The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh is the largest museum in North America dedicated to a single artist. The museum holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives of Andy Warhol’s work.
Andy Warhol’s art is unique, iconic, and often not fully understood and we thought it would be a great opportunity to help patrons experience the art in an immersive manner.
We conducted extensive secondary and primary research to understand the current museum experiences, and the challenges faced by visitors, if any. We undertook surveys, interviews, looked at the museum’s digital presence and reviews to identify the ideal points of intervention for an immersive experience.
ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS TO:
How can we help visitors with minimal knowledge of Andy Warhol gain an understanding of the artist and his artwork?
Art appreciation generally follows a framework that combines curiosity, observation and understanding of the artwork. We decided to employ this framework to our solution.
By creating immersive experiences for the visitors that will help them learn about the three facets about the artwork, visitors can gain a better understanding of Warhol and his work.
We explored different technologies that could be employed for this immersive experience and identified mixed reality as the apt medium.
We explored different devices including the HoloLens 2, MetaQuest 2, MetaQuest 3, and the Google cardboard among other devices.
Smaller field of view.
Bulky to use in the whole museum
Distorted view of the real world.
Google cardboard - not MR
Bulky to use in the whole museum
Distorted view of the real world
We then decided to adopt futuristic AR glasses that are lightweight to deploy the experiences to.
Get more information about the artworks by tapping the object at a distance.
We envisioned the user journey to follow the order in which the exhibits are arranged. We identified 4 experiences catered to help understand the artist, the artwork, and the techniques, followed by a social interaction aimed to promote self-reflection among the visitors.
Initial brainstorming of the overall experience
ENVISIONED USER JOURNEY
Screen Printing - Experience 3
Self Reflection - Experience 4
We named the experience the Warhol Lens because we wanted the visitors to view the world from Warhol's eyes. Throughout the experience, we've maintained the emphasis on seeing things from his point of view using first-person
We used a darker theme UI as opposed to glass morphism to ensure visibility, given the high contrast and bright colors in Warhol's artwork.
Situating the users in the museum
Onboarding To WarhoLens
Visitors can collect their glasses from the front desk along with their ticket. They get onboarded to the experience in the lobby.
Can't connect all floors
Each floor has a summary of what to expect on that floor to situate the users in the museum exhibit.
Accessing the experiences
Access the immersive experiences at each exhibit using these floating MR hotspots.
Understanding the Artist
Conversations With Warhol
Bring Warhol's portraits to life and hear from him about his life. Better understand the artist's life and influences.
Understanding the artwork context
Andy's Childhood Home
Enter a VR simulation of Warhol's childhood home in Pittsburgh and look around to see the Campbell soup that he had as his dinner everyday.
Understanding the artwork - viewing completed versions and other famous pieces from the collection.
Warhol's Soup Cans
View the completed version and other famous pieces that are housed in different museums.
Understanding the revolutionary technique employed
View Layers Of The Painting
Explore the different layers that make up a screen print to better understand how the process helped Warhol mass-produce art.
Understanding the technique
Create Your Own Screen Print
Learn about the technique in an experiential manner by creating your own print.
Express The Warhol In You
Allowing the visitors to reflect on their experiences and translate that into a personal contribution to the museum. An adaptation of Warhol's belief in everyone's ability to create.
Takeaway - Souvenir
Take Your Screen Print Postcard
Collect a printed postcard of the screen print you created as a souvenir.
PROTOTYPING TO DEMO
We demoed the concepts on MetaQuest 3. After exploring Unity and Bezi (Bezel), we decided to stick with Bezi to build the prototypes for the experiences as it allowed collaboration and rapid prototyping to test.
A recurring issue we came across with prototyping was scaling of elements and layering them one over the other. Layering messed with the hotspots for each layer and we had to work around with distancing elements to overcome the hotspot glitches.
Seeds of wisdom (Personal notes/reflections)
This is a speculative design project, built under the assumption that prolonged MR experiences with light-weight glasses will be possible in the near future. If we were to design for 2023, we would consider projection mapping as a potential technology to employ.
Clear feedback loops (either auditory or visual) are necessary for the user to understand what is happening.
For the demo we used controller inputs but our next steps would be to develop high fidelity prototypes that are tap-enabled.
Downward placement of UI or elements, spread across the left and right is ergonomic then diagonally upwards.
It is important to identify registered v/s unregistered UI. What needs to stay on the screen, what can go?