Experiential Design: Winning Goal

Moment Factory’s immersive concept guides visitors through the life of a soccer legend.

One of the hallmarks of experiential design is combining various disciplines to holistically create immersive experiences. Moment Factory specializes in just that. The Montreal-based multimedia entertainment studio blends video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects to design immersive environments. Recently this included a multisensory sports-themed spectacular in Miami.

In April, the studio debuted a nine-room interactive walkthrough housed at The Hangar at Regatta Harbour, an event space in the city’s Coconut Grove neighborhood. The Messi Experience takes visitors on a journey through the life of soccer legend Lionel “Leo” Messi from childhood to superstardom.

Events producer Primo Entertainment approached Moment Factory to co-create the installation, which is set for an international tour. “We contributed with our expertise in content production, interactivity, media synchronization, sound and music creation [as well as] orchestration, lighting design, scenography and storytelling to bring this unique experience to life,” Moment Factory Creative Director Patricia Ruel explains.

The experience begins in the onboarding zone, dubbed “Pre-Match,” where visitors are invited to access a web app and create their profile before entering the main experience. Overhead, flags created by Montreal wide-format print company Lamcom Technologies represent the teams Messi played throughout his career and the various numbers he wore.

Side banners, also by Lamcom, show off all of Messi’s major trophies and awards.
Along each side of the path, end-to-end screens transition from Spanish to English, previewing details about the nine chapters of Messi’s life that visitors are about to walk through.

In “Rosario: The Beginning,” fans step into Messi’s childhood room and onto the soccer field where his story starts. “The walls of the soccer field section were constructed in a scenic workshop [Acmé Décors] in Montreal,” Ruel says. Panels were crafted from grooved MDF and embellished with scenic painting techniques to mimic the look of cinder block walls. The wall for video content was painted in a flat gray finish to provide an optimal surface for projection.

Another space features an extraordinarily vibrant model soccer stadium. Called “The Rise of Messi,” this exhibit transports visitors to Barcelona. “We’ve crafted a scale model of Camp Nou Barcelona Stadium that is mapped with projected content, showcasing Messi’s early years in [the city],” Ruel notes. Surrounding the stadium, cutouts of famed landmarks, like the Sagrada Familia, create a cityscape. Behind that, a large print wall wrap by Montreal-based Showtex portrays the surrounding landscape.

The room “Argentina, Unfinished Business” highlights the triumphs of European success and the frustrations of Argentina’s losses through the media’s lens. “Multiple TVs are integrated into a structure reminiscent of news channel studios, forming a large screen display…” Ruel explains. Printed vinyl flooring, moving lights and smoke add action and drama to the space.

In the large open zone called “Lionel’s Suitcase,” Moment Factory leveraged curves and content mapping to immerse visitors in the 2022 World Cup. “The walls are constructed of stretch fabric, and custom curved trusses have been designed to create a seamless, ‘no-corner’ immersive environment,” Ruel says.

At “The Last Chance,” soccer enthusiasts can test their skills and learn tips and tricks from Messi himself. Three interactive games are projected on the floor or wall. By scanning their app profile at a login station, visitors can play each game and view their scores on the leaderboard. “To recreate a stadium atmosphere, we’ve adorned the room with prints of cheering crowds all around,” Ruel explains.

For the ultimate Instagrammable moment, a photobooth allows fans to take a selfie with the G.O.A.T. Using AI technology, visitors’ snapshots are seamlessly integrated with his.
“I am very happy to be part of this project that allows fans to get closer to my journey on and off the field,” Messi said in a press release. “Throughout my career, I have always strived to inspire and connect with people through my passion for football. This experience will offer a unique opportunity to relive the most memorable moments and feel the emotions that have shaped my path.”

Creating an authentic experience was a major feat—one that took careful planning and thorough research. The walkthrough features insights from many Messi experts, including journalists, authors and data specialists.

“We also had access to over 1,000 archived videos,” Ruel recalls. “Our team traveled to Argentina, retracing Messi’s footsteps, immersing [ourselves] in the culture, cuisine and football scene to understand the football phenomenon and passion in Argentina,” she adds. “We assembled a passionate team, including multimedia artists from Argentina and Barcelona, all deeply dedicated to football and honored to be part of this project.”

So what does a sign company need to do to collaborate with an entertainment studio like Moment Factory? It starts with making the right connections. “Moment Factory has its own procurement department that supports all its creations and productions worldwide,” Ruel explains. “Over the years, we have developed partnerships with various printing and scenic companies to achieve the results we envision.”

Collaborations like these develop layers of visual elements created by specialists in their craft. The result is something unforgettable to at least three of the five senses.

Creators: Primo Entertainment, Moment Factory
Designs: Moment Factory
Large wall prints: ShowTex Canada
Banners and flags: Lamcom Technologies
Props: M&M Graphic
Scenic: Acmé Décors, Ovation, Design360