Discovery Dock

Interactive micro amusement park

As lead agency for Dumont Media Group – one of Germany’s largest media companies, we developed a completely new type of immersive, permanent exhibition at the Port of Hamburg. One that uses innovative technologies to take visitors from all over the world, to those areas of the port they wouldn’t normally have access to. After just 9 months of agile project development, the Discovery Dock theme park opened to the general public at the heart of Hamburg’s Hafencity – right next to the Elbphilharmonie. Developing not just a forward thinking business model, but a unique live experience.

Learning through immersive storytelling

Together with countless partners from economics, politics and society; from scientists and environmentalists, to shipping experts; we developed our vision for the exhibition. One that uses the principles of edutainment – being both informative and entertaining – to emotionally engage visitors. For this, we had to use cutting edge interactive storytelling techniques that would create a cohesive narrative. This had to be tightly concepted, since each visitor session had a fixed time of fifty minutes.

Story design and prototyping

To find a storyline for the experience, we started with extensive research on the inner workings of the port. Developing the overarching theme “The unseen perspectives of Hamburg’s port”. Through content mapping around this thematic, a detailed storyline was then developed: one that had the ability to weave all these diverse and complex narratives together. From this, we were quickly able to define the different station ideas, prototyping technological solutions and working iteratively to realise our vision.

Story design and prototyping

Holistic Experience Design and Brand Building

Through this, we developed the complete experience, brand, and visual identity for “Discovery Dock”. Our goal was to present a future vision, taking reference from the port’s industrial and container world. The scenography worked with container-like materials and structures.

Micro Amusement Park

For the detailed conception of the experience, we 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. On seven further stations, groups could deepen their knowledge of industry, nature and business thanks to mixed and virtual reality experiences, and interactive installations.

Unseen perspectives with a centrally controlled experience

From a technical perspective, we had to develop a central infrastructure that would support, monitor and control the entire experience. The so-called hub. This hub is a local server system which enables live-communication to all stations including light, and audio and, triggers all experience events automatically in a designated order. Through this we made it possible for hundreds of visitors to go through the experience in a highly choreographed way.

Monitoring and maintenance

Assembling in the lobby and transition room, whilst other guests are still in the main experience part. Through tablets, exhibition service staff can intervene in the process. Through a designated maintenance application system administrators can check the applications in realtime and perform monitoring, maintenance and optimization tasks in a decentralized way.

Unseen perspectives with a centrally controlled experience
Business model and potentials

The resulting overall experience is a new take on immersive exhibition design. Demonstrating not just the potential for new technologies to create a new world of “edutainment” storytelling. But their potential to unlock whole new future-thinking revenue streams for businesses. The experience can be visited near the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, and is open to the general public.

Our production partners

bauer + planer • The Marmalade / Jamsession • WeSound • Impuls-Design • Exozet

Discovery Dock

Interactive micro amusement park