British designer Allison Crank has created a digital mall that shoppers can use to walk through at their leisure.
The project, called “The realty theatre: shopping in the Ludic Century”, is part of Crank’s thesis project which looks into the future of shopping. The experience immerses the user or shopper in a completely different kind of shopping centre.
This one – which users enter with an Oculus Rift headset- is filled with giraffes, zebras and more roaming the mall alongside you.
Crank created her concept as a response to the gradual decline of real-life retail spaces, with shoppers looking to online retailers to buy their goods.
Speaking with Dezeen, Crank said, “The next form of the store or mall is no longer physical, but virtual, one where virtual reality and augmented reality will replace the physical mall or store.”
On her website she describes her project as more than just a shopping machine.
“It is a meshing of stories where the elements of the public life are not only revived through reengineering of architecture and urbanism, but also integrated with modern technology and new consumption economies, all in order to create a utopian future.”
Crank proposes that stores should be transformed into playgrounds for experiences, where the consumers or shoppers become actors with the ability to perform, spectate, play and indulge themselves in the environment.
After putting on the headset, users can navigate through the digital shopping centre using a controller, encountering virtual people, animals and bright neon signs as they walk around.
“Architecture, props, clothing and even movement are augmented and celebrate virtuality. Realms blend with other realms, linked by an escalator that frames the view,” Crank said.
“I designed an experience that allows you to visit this virtual world in the form of a VR play a narrative that gives life to this fiction and lets you see how the Reality Theatre works.”