The reality theatre
Shopping is a public performance. Stores are theatres where you can be both performer and spectator. What if we designed stores as stages? What if shopping were a script for new stories? Shopping architecture is the most common form of a ‘third place’: a space for public activities where you can see and be seen. However, with the rise of online shopping and cyberspace, shops and malls are facing rapid obsolescence. To counter this, I propose that stores be transformed into playgrounds for experiences, where consumers become actors with the ability to perform, spectate, play and indulge themselves in the environment. To reflect the wants and needs of people in this age of spectacle and play, this ‘Ludic century’, I designed the Reality Theatre, a prediction of the next urban shopping machine, an experience stager of limitless possibilities. The Reality Theater is a new third place. Architecture, props, clothing and even movement are augmented and celebrate virtuality. Realms blend with other realms, linked by an escalator that frames the view. Virtual movement allows the visitor to consume the space as spectacle and animation. I also designed an experience that allows you to visit this virtual world in the form of a VR play: a narrative that gives life to this fiction and lets you see how the Reality Theatre works. You assume the role of Ms. Smith, who is shopping for a chair in the Reality Theatre, from the moment she enters, to her interactions with the designer, to when she leaves. I leave it up to the viewers to immerse themselves in the virtual stage and performance.