Arcade x Kielder: Connecting People To Nature and the Universe

We are very proud to announce that Arcade has been awarded two separate projects in partnership with Digital Catapult North East & Tees Valley, both centred around one of the largest and most impressive natural environments in the UK, Kielder Water & Forest Park.

Guardians of Kielder

The first project is with Kielder’s Development Trust, creating a new way for diverse audiences to connect with this incredible natural space. ‘Guardians of Kielder’ is a prototype app designed to invite people to engage with Kielder via immersive AR and VR technologies. Starting from a three-dimensional map of the 650km2 park that can be placed on a floor or table-top, users can explore Kielder and discover its rich history as well as its role as a diverse, living habitat for wildlife and human activity today.

Most importantly, users are invited to become Guardians. For a small donation, they can effectively adopt a parcel of Kielder land which they can then visit virtually from wherever they are in the world, and make it their own. The result is a meaningful sense of connection and belonging, and a new, rewarding relationship with this important natural environment.

Kielder Nights

The second project is with one of Kielder’s most illustrious residents, the Kielder Observatory. Northumberland National Dark Sky Park, as the area has been designated, is the largest Gold Tier Dark Sky Park area of protected night sky in Europe – and the observatory sits at the heart of this astonishing space.

Their objective is to explore ways to take the ‘Kielder Moment’ – the unique, awe-inspiring feeling of looking up at a pollution-free night sky full of billions of stars – out to more people than could ever physically visit in person. ‘Kielder Nights’ is an app that will allow audiences to place a Kielder Mini Observatory wherever they are, and then step inside for that inspirational view of a Kielder night sky. A Kielder astronomer will introduce them to some of the most fascinating celestial objects on show, and invite them to explore these galaxies and nebulas in immersive three-dimensional space.

Guardians of Kielder en Kielder Nights are both funded at prototype stage by the North East Social Tech Fund, run by Digital Catapult North East & Tees Valley. Both projects will be launched for testing later this year.

To find out more about Kielder Water & Forest Park, as well as the Development Trust and Kielder Observatory, click here.

It’s beginning to look a lot like spatial

Man flying through space

As usual at this time of year, the design press has been bearing gifts – all kinds of shiny new rebrands, some just launched, others from ‘Best of 2018’ revues. And one thing really stands out: space.

Microsoft Office Icon Redesigns
Microsoft's new branding for their Office Suite

Take Microsoft Office’s first rebrand for five years. Universally lauded, it made most people immediately look down at the icons on their desktop and go, “Woah, I hadn’t noticed how old they look.” The reason is not because the old icons are especially outdated, it’s because the new ones are just so, well, new.

Or this week’s WPP rebrand. Shimmering, glowing, growing, shifting. Viewed top-down, viewed in perspective. Dynamic. New.

New Brand Logo for WPP
WPP's new brand - the colour palette is forever-changing

And what does new look like? New is physical. New is distance. New is perspective. Not the awful drop-shadows of the mid 2000s that were everyone’s guilty pleasure, but actual depth. In both cases, you feel you can step inside. Dive in. Microsoft even constructed the icons physically before they created the digital assets, and the result preserves their genuine third dimension.

The reason for this, I’d suggest, is because they are both being heavily influenced by spatial design. And this is only set to grow.

At a time when immersive technology is offering ever more innovative, exciting ways to engage with the spaces around us, it seems pretty clear that cutting-edge innovation and design is going a bit spatial-mad. Two years after Pokemon GO sent us out into the world to hunt down digital creatures (and a few months before it happens all over again with Harry Potter: Wizards Unite), 2019 is set to be the year of spatial – in gaming but everywhere else too. Museums, galleries, theme parks, events, music festivals, universities, workplaces and many more – all embracing immersive tech and the spatial mindset it requires.

Remember kids, spatial isn’t just for Christmas. It’s here for good.

And we couldn’t be happier.