Claudia on 8/23/2019

"Demodern - Creative Technologies" develops an interactive micro amusement park at the Port of Hamburg

An interactive, future-thinking permanent exhibition that brings the Port of Hamburg virtually to life using state-of-the-art virtual reality technologies and a unique choreography of mixed reality, projection mapping, and real-time data. Together with Dumont Media Group, the award-winning experts from Demodern, transformed an empty space next to the Elbphilharmonie into an immersive, interactive experience. Leading the project from initial research, over the idea, to the final exhibition in less than a year the Discovery Dock has been officially opened on May, 13th 2019 by Peter Tschentscher, the Mayor of Hamburg - right in the heart of Hamburg's Hafencity.

Together with countless partners from economics, politics, and society – from scientists and environmentalists to shipping experts –  Demodern developed their vision for the exhibition. One that uses the principles of edutainment – being both informative and entertaining – to emotionally engage visitors. For this, the team had to use cutting edge interactive storytelling techniques that would create a cohesive narrative. This had to be tightly conceived since each visitor session has a fixed time of fifty minutes and the Discovery Dock is concepted for more than a hundred visitors a day. To find a storyline for the experience, the teams started with extensive research on the inner workings of the port. Developing the overarching theme “The unseen perspectives of Hamburg’s port”.


The Discovery Dock conveys the multifaceted nature of the Port of Hamburg on an interactive adventure trail accompanied by ambient light and realistic sound. For the detailed conception of the experience, the team chose individual station installations that supported this creative roof and story. Ranging from an immersive audiovisual installation to 4K projection mapping of real-time port data on a huge 3D port model which is the heart of the experience. On seven further stations, groups can deepen their knowledge of industry, nature and business thanks to mixed and virtual reality experiences, and interactive installations. The Discovery Dock shows how it is to work in the port in authentic portraits of employees, visitors can go eye-to-eye with life under the surface of the river Elbe – reconstructed in 3D, built-in Unreal Engine and feel ship movements by using real-time data. In addition, visitors can become the crane operator of a container bridge or climb onto a basket lift and navigate around one of the largest dry docks in Europe, where a ship is being repaired. In the experience finale, visitors are taken on a journey to an imagined future world.


"With the 'Discovery Dock' as an interactive on-site experience, a Micro Amusement Park has been created, providing unprecedented perspectives and insights of the Port of Hamburg and which make it an unforgettable event for tourists and locals because of its new, playful and engaging interactions", Alexander El-Meligi, Managing Partner and Creative Director at Demodern explains. For Demodern Micro Amusement Parks are spatial installations that are aiming primarily the entertainment of the guests, eliciting enthusiasm and, moreover, communicating educational and informative content in a playful and effective manner. "And that's exactly what we want to achieve with the installations of the Discovery Dock," Alexander El-Meligi says. Together with the client, he and his Hamburg team are responsible for the overall concept of the 'Discovery Dock' and have developed the entire experience in close cooperation with the DuMont project team.



But not only Demodern starts into a new era. DuMont's goal is to establish a new business model for future-oriented business expansion with the Discovery Dock. "With 'Discovery Dock' we are expanding our Hamburg know-how into non-media business areas. In addition to our core business, we are investing in the growth market of tourism and edutainment, thereby reaching new target groups, "says Susan Molzow, Managing Director of Hamburger Morgenpost Medien, DuMont.

Cooperation partners of the "Discovery Dock" are AIDA Cruises, the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) as well as the Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA). In addition, the experience will be supported by Blohm + Voss, the University of Hamburg and the Hamburg Department of the Environment and Energy. Antje Dittrich heads the overall project for DuMont. In addition to Demodern as lead agency, other service providers are involved in the development of the Experience. These include The Marmalade, WESOUND, Exozet Berlin, Impuls Design, Lichtfaktor, Ladiges and Dekom.

You want to know more about the Discovery Dock, which technologies we've used and get more insights? Read our full case study then.