journey nyc

Journey is a new restaurant in New York City that makes extensive use of digital storytelling via projection mapping effects and large digital surfaces throughout the space. Very similar in concept to what Tablemation Studios produces using anamorphosis/forced-perspective faux-3D effects.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I unfortunately have never experienced such an experience in person, but I can make my best guess as to challenges of the experiential design: The technology is fun but needs to be secondary to the overall social experience.

I predict a division in the experience between introverts versus extroverts. Introverts will love quietly sitting back and experiencing a narrative as it unfolds. They won’t mind being passive and absorbing the story flow. But extroverts will hate being interrupted or socially upstaged by the technology + narrative. They will label it a gimmick and hate it.

To balance those two personal styles of experience, I would largely skip a strong sequential narrative. Forcing too much of a conceit in heavy-handed storytelling will turn off people not interested in being force-fed a sequential experience.

The experiential design needs to balance a precious little bit of narrative storytelling with a generous dose of delightful unexpected magical moments.

There should be a few big dramatic “aha!” moments for establishing the communal experience, but the bulk of the time, the technology should interject random, unexpected delight into the evening without disrupting the social experience. It will be a tough balance to set.

To capture the site content for posterity:

Journey, a unique dining entertainment enterprise, introduces theatrical gastronomy to New York City with an exciting blend of immersive video installations, fine dining, fashion tech and theatre. Created through the collaboration of a top team culled from the worlds of Broadway, fashion, multimedia and the culinary arts, Journey is a wholly original experience.

Located at 27 West 24th Street in NYC, Journey incorporates four unique experiences under one roof: Journey 360, where the 360-degree projections transport you from the communal table to five exotic locations for each of the courses of the prix fixe meal; Journey Odyssey, where live and filmed performances bring the diners’ tabletops to life with a comic adventure led by an award-winning Broadway cast; Journey Lounge, where mystery and curiosities await as you enjoy a mix of live and filmed entertainment; and Journey À La Carte, where augmented reality brings the dinner plates to life.

JOURNEY 360
A ticketed event that begins on a Zeppelin tethered to the Empire State Building circa 2022. Guests will sit at a communal table with floor-to-ceiling and tabletop 360 projection mapping. Travel to dramatic settings for each course from a fantastic waterfall in the rainforest, to the side of a volcano, to an underwater shipwreck. The magnificent five-course prix fixe meal will end with a futuristic, otherworldly dessert set in an out-of-this-world location. Every setting has been designed to complement the cuisine while bringing the astonishing world to your table.

JOURNEY ODYSSEY
Guests to this ticketed event will be able to participate in this multisensory culinary journey in smaller groups, at tables accommodating 2 to 4 people. Broadway’s most talented performers bring to life a series of comic vignettes to introduce each of the five courses. Have your appetizer in Tokyo, your first course in Venice, and your entrée in Buenos Aires with equal measures of inventive cuisine and diverting humor.

JOURNEY LOUNGE
A non-ticketed environment featuring a unique bar with tapas offerings. Featuring a room showcasing paintings and objects that come to life with 3D animation, a hostess bedecked in stunning FashionTech couture, and flights of cocktails with integrated video directly on your bartop, the Lounge is the perfect place to hang out casually with friends before and after the sit-down dinner or as a destination all its own.