LE

MUSK

An immersive space in a 360 projection dome (ø10m) featuring an audiovisual experience accompanied by scent, motion, and haptics in the film's poetic rhythm.

OVERVIEW

Le Musk is 35 minute multi-sensory VR film directed by Academy Award winning Music Composer, A. R. Rahman. The experience of Le Musk is a unique immersive journey from beginning to end. First space is proposed as a narrow passage leading to an art installation that the audience group enters and spends time in. Interacting with the sensory surroundings and guided by audiovisual cues, they are then directed to a theatre hall where they experience Le Musk in VR on Voyagers by Positron. The 

Outcome 

Sensory Interaction Design

Exhibition Design Proposal

Le Musk premiere at Cannes Film Festival 2022

Scent of a Song at Cannes Film Festival 2019

Prelude to Le Musk at NAB 2017

Timeline 

November '16 - July '19

My Role 

Exhibition Design 

Stakeholder Management

Sensory Interaction 

Graphic Design

Fabrication

In Collaboration with  

A.R. Rahman, Director + Music Composer

Grace Boyle, The Feelies

Manisha Mohan, IFF Scent Technologist

Intel, Technology Partners

AromaJoin, Scent Hardware 

Positron, Motion Platform

Ankkit Modi, Interaction Designer

Post production Team

Brainstorming with the team with resulting mind map

CONTEXT

Le Musk is an unprecedented narrative experience in Virtual Reality. The 35 minute multi-sensory Virtual Reality film is directed and produced by Academy Award-winning music composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionnaire, 127 Hours) and starring French actress Nora Arnezeder (Mozart in the Jungle). Set in Rome, the immersive narrative focuses on a young woman’s quest to avenge the murder of her parents, yet she can only recognize and track down the three assailants by scent and sound. The story takes the audience on a visceral journey of its heroine as she navigates the Eternal City of Rome and a moveable landscape of land, sea and air.

RESEARCH

The research began with understanding the film's essence and main themes that could be abstracted in various mediums. This resulted in aiming to design a space that would feature the sensual and emotional themes of the film, and an intangible sense of evoking memory made more fascinating by way of its tangibility/interactivity. This approach would work towards positively affecting the audience through the senses, especially olfaction, inculcating a real connection to the world of Le Musk as an escape from reality to a place where serendipity takes form around you in every medium.

Theme Board

IDEATION

The experience of MUSK is a journey, a unique immersive experience.  Each visitor will have their own individual trajectory of experience which will take place inside the intimacy of a small group experience, binding them together. Groups will move through the experience in a rolling schedule through the following, 

  • SPACE 1: First space that the audience group (10-20 people max) enters and spends time in, interacting with the immersive, sensory surroundings. 

  • SPACE 2: Experiencing MUSK in the Positron chair.

  • SPACE 3: Decompression and reflection on the experience. Designed space featuring elements of the film (food, drink, opportunity to purchase the scent MUSK).

PROTOTYPING

The fastest and least expensive option to prototype is ‘Raw Earth’ that used copper and a copper patina, paired with a matte finish acrylic piece in the color black. The next step was to determine the location of the lighting source and its consequent materials in place to emphasize indications in a visual manner. The fabrication process involved metal work for the stem and base, laser cutting and 3D printing the ring fixtures along with fleshing out the electricals. The result was also tested in combination with visual palette for its effectiveness in communicating urgencies. 

Art Installation element 

OUTCOME

The final prototype featured a ceiling mounted chandelier that is a beautiful lighting fixture for the home and smells for you if you don’t have the ability to smell. Made from metal and acrylic, the product is a visually beautiful element with customizable number of rings per the user’s need and placement in the home. The lamp lights up in cool white light when functioning as a regular lighting fixture and changes its visual properties on detecting danger. 

Graphic design for the film at various milestones

REFLECTION

Design enhances our daily experiences using our senses. During my participation in this project, I absorbed a deeper appreciation for the senses and sensory experiences. Collaborating with cross-functional teams and as a watershed moment in my career, I met people who contributed to the culture of film, music and design in a transformative way. The interpretation of Rahman’s visionary ideas were dependent on how I brought these ideas to life; This process really taught me to follow my intuition and be a self-starter. I experienced a monumental shift as a designer through the constant evolution of creative thought and a deeper understanding of our dynamic relation with technology, leading me to explore my design philosophy in the realm of multi-sensory products and experiences.

Current Landscape: Top rated smoke detectors at home, none with a mode to gauge other harmful gasses

Stakeholder Map for Le Musk Exhibition 

Current Landscape

When I started work on this project, VR as a medium of cinematic experiences was an upcoming field to watch out for in 2016. This meant that I had limited precedents to research. However, I decided to  study the following experiences/companies that would help set the bar for what a successful immersive experience looks like, 

Sensory Interaction for 'Scent of a Song' by Le Musk

Exploration A was selected to be prototyped after receiving the most positive feedback from all explorations. This form was made with odor in mind, meant to represent the floating of scent molecules in the air. The lightness of this 3D abstraction combined with the visual dominance of the rings could be successfully used in the design of an alert system. The form also proves to have versatility in its application of the placement in the home environment. 

Moodboarding potential ideas

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT

Defined by the tests conducted for the audio-visual palettes, and informed by the observations of the participants, the resulting lighting fixtures from 2D ideation constitute the home accessory products in the cross modal toolkit. In collaboration with audio-engineer, Pradvay Sivashankar, whose expertise on audio production helped iterate, test, and determine the sound palette for the final design in a seamless process. The goal of the auditory signal is to progress from one level to another starting with a consonant tune that dramatically changes to dissonant sounds that catch the user’s attention. 

Sensory associate for Le Musk at Cannes XR 2022

The Le Musk Team at Cannes Film Festival, 2019 (I'm the second one from the right!)

Ideation sketches and schematics

Color palette for projection content, installation elements and merchandise

Site specific installation for the Le Musk Theatre

OVERVIEW

Le Musk is 35 minute multi-sensory VR film directed by Academy Award winning Music Composer, A. R. Rahman and the experience of Le Musk is a unique immersive journey from beginning to end. First space features a narrow passage leading to an art installation that a single visitor from the audience group enters and spends time in, interacting with the sensory surroundings guided by audiovisual cues and is directed to a hall where they experience Le Musk in VR on Voyagers by Positron. 

Outcome 

Sensory Interaction Design

Exhibition Design Proposal

Le Musk premiere at Cannes Film Festival 2022

Scent of a Song at Cannes Film Festival 2019

Prelude to Le Musk at NAB 2017

Timeline 

November '16 - July '19

My Role 

Exhibition Design 

Creative Lead 

Sensory Interaction 

Graphic Design

Fabrication

In Collaboration with  

A.R. Rahman, Director + Music Composer

Grace Boyle, The Feelies

Manisha Mohan, IFF Scent Technologist

Intel, Technology Partners

AromaJoin, Scent Hardware 

Positron, Motion Platform

Ankkit Modi, Interaction Designer

Leehan Jaiswal, Intern 

Yohaan Sutterwala, Intern

Post production Team

ANORA

AMBIENT NOSES

A cross-modal toolkit comprising a family of smart lighting fixtures for the home that sense dangerous gasses for those who don’t have the ability to smell.

360 Projection content (viewable in VR)

Scent track trials for the VR film

Visual Explorations: Testing new technologies such as the Intel RealSense motion sensors and transparent display TV

Sponsor deck for exhibition design 

Merchandise options for the film

Film Poster for Cannes XR 2019

Design representative for Le Musk at Cannes XR 2019

PRESS

Le Musk has received such overwhelmingly positive response all over the globe! Following are some of my favorite highlights from a sea of publications and press coverage,  

Screenplay and scent interactive experience for 'Scent of a Song' at Cannes XR 2019