Conference Design

An OASIS For Business Events

The events industry is becoming more and more elaborate. Even before the pandemic hit the industry had noticed differences in event design, a general trend for more experience-based conferences. Creativity was matched up with advanced technology to generate innovative solutions for the experienced conference-goers. No stranger to innovation, the Palais des congrès de Montréal manages to stay one step ahead of the game with imaginative projects such as the newly acquired OASIS immersion.

Words Vicky Koffa

The Palais des congrès de Montréal already offered an extensive variety of digital solutions as the demand for virtual and hybrid meetings has recently increased rapidly. Launched in summer 2020, the services being provided by the Palais Média Propulsion, an array of high-tech studios explained in detail in a previous article, created compelling content for meeting planners. To extend this offering and to differentiate Montreal’s premier conference center from the rest of the world, Québec entrepreneurs came up with the OASIS immersion.

Denys Lavigne, CEO, Creative Director and Cofounder of OASIS immersion, guides us through the project: “OASIS immersion operates both as an event space and immersive museum, which officially opened to the public on February 25, 2021. The site includes three immersive galleries, and a café/bar/boutique lounge area. It has a total occupancy capacity of 1,032 people (Pre/Post COVID-19). Each immersive gallery/studio features 360 laser projection on the walls and floors as well as a surround sound system. Custom visual experiences can be created by the OASIS immersion team. In museum mode, visitors can enjoy a walk-through, contactless experience and discover distinct immersive audio and video experiences in every gallery.”

Permanent immersive exhibits

The Palais is now the first convention center globally to host permanent immersive exhibits and studios as the OASIS team chose the venue to be the permanent home of the project. “Initially the motivation for the OASIS team was the quality of the space itself, which was at the time used as a warehouse, but checked all the requirements in terms of footprint, height of ceilings, etc. Of course, the location and accessibility of the Palais were additional major factors in our decision,” continues Lavigne.

In more detail, OASIS immersion comprises of six distinct rooms: the Anticipation Room – a lighted transition space that eases visitors into the opening immersive gallery; the Portal Room – the first full gallery; the Teleportation Room – an immersive gallery that takes visitors all over the world and beyond; the Panorama Room – the largest gallery, it delivers an immersive account of the people, ideas and places behind the exhibition. After a break at the OASIS coffee lounge and gift shop, visitors end their walkthrough along the Decompression Corridor, for one final sound-light experience. 

“Open year-round, we hope OASIS immersion becomes a must-see attraction for Montréal and a prime space to hold events or business activities in an environment where technology is at the service of creativity. This initiative is a perfect fit within the scope of our vision for the ‘Palais of the future,’ especially in the way it integrates local talent and innovation to enable us to distinguish ourselves nationally and internationally, and transforms the Palais into a meeting place for Montréalers and visitors where ideas and discoveries come together,” explains Robert Mercure, CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

Perfect alignment

In fact, Mercure’s vision for the Palais aligns perfectly with the concept created by the OASIS team. Lavigne says: “When the OASIS cofounders presented its vision of this project to Robert Mercure, who had just arrived in new role as CEO, we talked about creativity and innovation, and the project becoming a platform for the fantastic pool of local talent we have in Montreal. We also felt the project could help the offering of Palais stand out on the international stage. We quickly learned that these elements were fully in sync with his vision of the ‘Convention Center of the Future’. It also linked to his objective of enhancing the Palais des congrès as a destination of choice for all Montrealer’s.”

The Palais now has added value for conference planners. Mercure says: “Conference organizers will be able to choose from personalized or turnkey packages that will include various options of impactful visual settings developed by the OASIS immersion creative team.” This was exactly what Lavigne also had in mind for the project: “OASIS immersion is a very versatile environment. It can be used to complement other conference activities held within the Palais, such as cocktail events, and special presentations. It can also serve as a studio for virtual and hybrid events, shootings, as well as high-end telepresence, simulation, and data visualization. Event organizers and PCOs can leverage the ‘plug-and-play’ technology infrastructure to create memorable experiences for their on-site and online attendees.”

On top of everything, the space used promotes social distancing and allows for a contactless visit, in a very well-ventilated space. All events are held following health and safety measures that are in accordance with government directives and in line with the Palais Reopening Operating Guide to Running Events with Safety Standards (PROGRESS). The innovative project has already been put to safe use when the Palais had to broadcast a live interview with Laurent Duvernay Tardif’ Sports illustrated person of the year, during the PCMA 2021 Convening Leaders on 11-15 January 2021. 

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