LE

MUSK

An immersive space designed for a VR film 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 last space features a decompression area to reflect on the experience and an opportunity to take the memory back home with you.  

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 - present

Disclaimer: Due to a non-discolosure agreement, limited work shown here.

My Role 

Exhibition Design 

Stakeholder Management

Sensory Associate Director 

Graphic Design

Fabrication

In Collaboration with  

A.R. Rahman, Director + Music Composer

Grace Boyle, Sensory Director

Manisha Mohan, Scent Technologist

Intel, Technology Partners

AromaJoin, Scent Hardware 

Positron, Motion Platform

Ankkit Modi, Interaction Designer

Post production Team

Brainstorming with the team and 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 best way to know if an intended experience works is to - experience it! I designed and fabricated elements of the art installation and produced options for the film's merchandise. The reverberation vessels that used the element of water subjected to cymatics with a custom sound track received the most positive response. Each space was a carefully designed project in itself, and these designs were documented in a sponsorship deck for future installations.  

Art Installation element 

OUTCOME

As an ongoing project, the film has crossed various milestones in its trajectory to change the future of entertainment and following are my contributions, 

  • Designed scent interaction for 'Prelude to Le Musk'​ at NAB 2017

  • ​Film's poster, booth graphics, script and sensory associate director for 'Scent of a Song' at Cannes XR 2019

  • Design representative for Le Musk at the Intel booth, Cannes XR 2019 ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

  • ​Sensory associate director for the premiere of Le Musk at Cannes XR 2022​​​​​​

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Alongside these contributions, I also made an exhibition design proposal deck for future sponsorship and I'm very excited for the launch of these site specific installations in the near future!

Poster design for Scent of a song premiered at Cannes XR 2019

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: Successful immersive experiences and precedents 

Stakeholder Management 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, 

The colour palette of the space is inspired by the transition and evolution of Juliet’s character revealing intersections between the virtual and the real, where reality starts to bleed at the edges and things are not as they seem as recognisable surroundings start to become a dreamscape over time. With the element of surprise at each turn, the colours draw on diverse decorative influences with a touch of avant-garde interior design.

Moodboarding potential ideas

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT

As the audience group is guided through the experience by audio and visual cues to explore and to find what they weren’t looking for - OEAMs induces an ephemeral sense of escape helping them transport to a different time and place, as in the movie, through portals each with a distinct form and evoking visuals with any of the individual scents designed for Le Musk. We used Aromajoin's aroma shooter for scent dispersion and made previsualizations of the projection content in VR along with testing upcoming technologies at the time. 

Sensory associate director 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. 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 last space features a decompression area to reflect on the experience and an opportunity to take the memory back home with you.  

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 - present

My Role 

Exhibition Design 

Stakeholder Management

Sensory Associate Director 

Graphic Design

Fabrication

In Collaboration with  

A.R. Rahman, Director + Music Composer

Grace Boyle, Sensory Director

Manisha Mohan, Scent Technologist

Intel, Technology Partners

AromaJoin, Scent Hardware 

Positron, Motion Platform

Ankkit Modi, Interaction Designer

Post production Team

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 sensory associate director for 'Scent of a Song' at Cannes XR 2019