A futuristic attraction is opening in Dubai on Saturday. Aya is an immersive light and sound park that's spread across 3,700 square metres at Wafi City mall.
"A trip to a beautiful universe” is the headline promise of the new destination, with its creators saying they wanted to bring a “unique, future-forward entertainment product” to Dubai.
“Dubai is one of the most interesting cities in the world to set up a business like this — you have an extremely diverse, future-forward, highly digitally-engaged audience, and it's one of the most visited cities in the world,” says Alexander Heller, chief executive of HyperSpace, developer of Aya.
The park utilises lights, sounds, as well as mirrors to create an otherworldly experience for visitors. It is divided into 12 zones, with each meant to evoke a specific reaction from guests.
“Aya is a transformative experience that transports you, as a person, to a land far, far away. We use the theme of travel a lot — the idea is that you are going to a distant universe, you are interacting with technology in a way that you've never really done before,” Heller tells The National. “Aya is supposed to grab your heart, grab your stomach and take you on a ride.”
Each room, or zone, at the park is designed to create a “highly sensory, out-of-body experience”, which Heller describes as akin to “standing on the beach with the waves crashing to the side of cliffs or standing on top of a mountain covered in snow”.
The zones also feature individual shows, a vibrant choreography of lights and sounds that could go on for up to seven minutes. The staff, aptly dressed in cream-coloured robes, guide visitors to move from one room to another.
Unlike Infinity des Lumieres in The Dubai Mall, Aya features mostly abstract imagery, incorporating extraterrestrial elements in some of the light projections. One room features jellyfish-like creatures swimming or flying through an ethereal dimension.
Another room requires visitors to lay on their backs and watch a light show projected on the ceiling — the idea is to create an illusion of floating.
Other zones include The Falls, which features a reverse waterfall, and The Pool or a circular projection on the floor imitating a deep vortex. Another room is Flora, featuring a sentient garden with illuminated grass.
With its headquarters at the Dubai Design District, HyperSpace will soon launch another attraction, House of Hype, in The Dubai Mall next year. The 9,290-square-metre venue is set to become a gaming and content hub that “connects the physical and the digital worlds," says Heller.
“It's like when TikTok and Fortnite had a big physical baby,” says HyperSpace CEO Heller. “It's a park powered by tokens and digital assets.”
Aya is in the main atrium of Wafi City mall in Oud Metha. Tickets start at Dh99 online and are Dh125 at the door