Review: SOMNAI, London’s most exciting virtual reality experience
Words by Tom Bethell
SOMNAI is London’s first and most creative, immersive dream experience making exceptional use of the latest virtual reality technology. With more than 13,000 visitors attending in the first three months alone we were excited to see what the hype is all about and it didn’t disappoint!
Perhaps not one for the faint-hearted or those with claustrophobic tendencies, SOMNAI is a place filled with blood pumping thrills and frights. The combined use of hyper and virtual reality for an all-encompassing, multi-sensory experience; what we had in store was a journey that would stir with our emotions, taking us on a journey in-and-out journey from blissful sleep to terrors reflected within nightmares.
To begin with, everyone is asked to hand over all personal items and wear dressing gowns which really sets up the start of the whole experience. Following this, each person is guided from room to room by actors. Adding a physical dimension, the theatrical presence throughout the experience really did add to the excitement and eeriness of what would happen next.
The overall theme and overriding concept of this experience is to fall deep into the depths of your subconscious and room by room, you certainly travel further into a dream state world. Providing a different experience from the real world we know to a virtual reality dream setting – each room has an impressively different theme, using of course, the immersive technologies to its advantage. From walking in an avatar world to being chased through a haunted house; senses are pushed to the max and the whole 70 minutes fly-by in a blink of the eye.
Following an experience full of mystery and anticipation complete with deep messages being presented throughout is a digitally themed cocktail bar. Reflecting what happened in everyone’s “dreams” with use of technology ever present as the bar morphs and changes around you, a series of augmented reality cocktails can be downloaded via the dotdotdot app. Drinks too are experienced from a whole new perspective, allowing you to even see yourself in a hologram! Futuristic cocktails include: Coco-Napple Colada, a refreshing combination of rum, synthesised citrus & Coco-napple essence; Pucks Fizz, an exciting combination of vodka, foraged liqueur, lemon, raspberry, sparking wine & popping candy; along with bar snacks like popcorn and deli-selections.
If you want to experience SONMIA for yourself, dotdotdot – the creators of SOMNAI, will leave its doors open until Thursday 26thJuly in Clerkenwell. In addition to this, SOMNAI will also be back on a more permanent basis with the announcement of its bigger experience… If this is anything to go by, I am excited to see what visions they have next!
Tickets to SOMNAI:
Tickets start at £35 and can be bought at dotdot.london
For bookings of 12 or more people, contact firstname.lastname@example.org