The Hidden Loop was designed by Asya Nur Celik and Teresa Rodriguez Garcia as part of PAACADEMY‘s “Meta-Fluid Studio 3.0” with Mariana Cabugueira.
The concept of The Hidden Loop grew from the fascination with the duality of nature and technology. They see increasingly digital lives as something that can be blended harmoniously with the natural world, rather than being in opposition to it. They aimed to create a space where this idea could be fully realized – where the tranquility of a serene cliff face meets the endless possibilities of digital healing and relaxation techniques. A design that blends into the natural elements of the cliff and creates layers of immersive experiences onto it.
New technological advancements present a unique opportunity to turn the challenges faced by creatives into potential solutions. By understanding these struggles and needs, they can design a digital world that addresses these issues and enhances the creative process.
Their main inspiration for the immersive healing areas sprang from understanding the spaces inside a cave and reproducing them in the design, making a fully integrated volume that offers an endless journey of discovery.
This calm and peaceful space led them to the idea of selecting the ideal client for this: the software company with the #1 app for Sleep, Meditation, and Relaxation, called Calm.
With the rapid progression of VR technology, they can virtually transport visitors to this peaceful location and create an immersive experience for meditation and relaxation. This fusion of technology and nature within their immersive healing areas allows for an accessible and inclusive wellness experience.
Their design process combines analytical, intuitive, and collaborative approaches. It’s typically comprised of five main stages.
Discovery & Research: The first step in their design process involves understanding the context of the project. This includes understanding the site and creating a shape that fully integrates into a cliff located on a remote island.
Concept Development: In this stage, they synthesize their findings from the research stage into a clear design concept. They explore various possibilities through brainstorming sessions and rough sketches. They decided to join two ‘’doughnut’’ shapes and get the result of a loop geometry, an infinite path you can visit repeatedly.
Design Development: They move to the design development stage once they agree on a concept. They refine their ideas, experimenting with layouts, materials, and structural elements. They also open some hollows and place communication ramps and platforms that can lead you from one level to another without losing the continuity of the loop.
Utilizing Autodesk Maya, they created a digital VR wellness center that exemplifies fluid architecture and organic forms. Maya’s capabilities allowed them to move beyond traditional rectilinear structures and explore dynamic, free-flowing designs that echo the natural world and its natural elements.
Organic shapes further contributed to the building’s harmonious aesthetic. They sought to embody the irregularities and imperfections that make natural forms beautiful and unique. The result is a structure that, while architecturally sophisticated, feels innate and intuitive. With Maya’s robust 3D modeling capabilities, they could experiment with these fluid and organic forms, iterating and refining their design until they achieve a wellness center that is aesthetically pleasing and fosters a deep sense of tranquility and connection for its users.
The second phase of their creation process involved transferring their fluid architectural designs from Maya into Unreal Engine. Unreal Engine’s advanced rendering capabilities were integral in turning their 3D models into intricately detailed and highly optimized virtual spaces.
Unreal Engine’s powerful and robust toolset allowed them to apply hyper-realistic textures to their models, adding depth and sophistication to their designs. The level of detail achievable in Unreal Engine allowed them to enhance their architectural forms with nuanced textural features that enriched the sensory experience for users. For instance, they could mimic the look and feel of natural materials like stone, wood, or glass, adding to the overall immersive experience.
It also allowed them to place screens with meditation and nature integration images to boost the immersive experience. One last important feature, and one of the main ones, was the journey of sounds. The capability of creating a continuity of relaxing melodies that change according to the spaces and being able to experience it yourself by moving freely around the project with your avatar.
They chose Unreal Engine for The Hidden Loop due to its advanced capabilities in delivering high-quality VR experiences. Unreal Engine’s real-time rendering and high-fidelity visuals allowed them to create a highly immersive and visually stunning VR wellness center, enhancing the sense of tranquility for their users. Its robust texture mapping and lighting tools enabled them to add intricate detail to their models, bringing their fluid architectural forms to life with nuanced textural features.
With it, they could give each space a unique identity and create a fluid path of materials, sounds, and lighting that can be experienced by moving your avatar around. Overall, Unreal Engine was instrumental in realizing its vision for a beautifully immersive, detail-rich, and performance-optimized VR wellness center.
One of the pivotal features of The Hidden Loop that they’re particularly excited about is the symbiotic blend of cutting-edge digital technology and natural elements, most notably represented in their immersive healing areas through the application of digital screens, NFTs, and sounds.
Their immersive healing areas are designed to offer a comprehensive multi-sensory experience. The natural sounds, be it the soft sound of birds or the rhythmic crashing of waves, harmoniously interweave with tranquil ambient music. This integration creates an atmosphere of peace and serenity, heightening the healing process. They firmly believe this innovative, harmonious marriage of technology and nature sets their project apart. It provides users with an unprecedented opportunity for relaxation, meditation, and complete wellness. It is not merely about offering a physically designated space for well-being but an innovative, comprehensive experience contributing to holistic health and wellness.
In conclusion, their wellness center concept embraces the harmonious integration of digital and natural elements, creating a sanctuary where technology and nature coexist in perfect synergy. The key features of The Hidden Loop, including the specialized immersive healing areas and the use of the journey of relaxing sounds, elevate the wellness experience to new heights.
They enable users to transcend physical limitations and embark on virtual journeys to serene locations. This empowers individuals to access the therapeutic benefits of nature even if they cannot physically travel. The immersive healing areas provide a multi-sensory experience, combining the calming sounds of the ocean waves with soothing ambient music to create an atmosphere of tranquility.
*The text was provided by Asya Nur Celik and Teresa Rodriguez Garcia and reviewed by the PA Editorial Team.