Our project story

Market Hall

Plymouth, UK

Arts, Culture & Heritage

Stepping away from reality.

Europe’s 1st 360-degree immersive dome.
A whole new world of imagination.

Challenge accepted.

Market Hall was developed by charity Real Ideas Organisation (RIO), in partnership with Plymouth City Council and the Institute of Digital Art and Technology at University of Plymouth. As Europe’s first ever 360-degree, 15-metre immersive dome, it provides a world-class space for immersive experiences supporting digital innovation, learning and creativity.

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Market Hall really is a game-changer. It puts Plymouth on the map internationally as a place with an emerging tech cluster.
Lindsey Hall, Chief Executive of RIO.

Protecting the original story.

Market Hall was a much-loved area of the city from 1762 but following WWII it was closed down. We have supported the conversion of the derelict building into an impressive, cutting-edge digital space. Being Grade II listed, the heritage requirements were a huge challenge and we needed to embed the immersive dome into the historic building fabric. This was paired with stringent planning and building constraints, all creating a complicated and highly technical project.

No stone left unturned.

Our experience in unique design meant we were open-minded to the brief and supportive of our client’s objectives. Having also worked with RIO for many years, we understood their exacting expectations, aspirations and business model. RIO needed cost effective and minimalist solutions and we worked closely and collaboratively with them from project inception through to construction, ensuring changes to the vision were discussed and explained in the clearest way.

Technical impact

Stitching together years.

To turn this derelict heritage building into a digital centre of excellence, we worked around the historic restrictions of the space, integrating modern and futuristic systems. From general power provisions, to lighting design, service routing, and the immersive dome, we liaised closely with specialist designers, architects and interior designers to develop a warm inviting space for the public and members to use. To light the space, we developed a lighting design that could isolate certain areas but also suit office desks, co-working, digital-production, and general break-out spaces. As RIO is a charitable organisation, we utilised low cost, highly efficient building services that are simple to use. This helped to keep within budget and retain as much of the original historic context of the building as we could.
Human impact

Awe-inspiring experiences.

Market Hall is an important project for RIO and the City of Plymouth. Now complete, the spaces are open to everyone and will focus on promoting growth in digital arts and technology while supporting local universities and academies. The dome provides events and experiences for all, inviting people from far and wide to explore immersive realities without the need for a VR headset. It’s a place to step away from reality; travel back in time, visit other planets or explore our planet’s future.
Market Hall will develop and grow digital arts and technology in the South West.
Key Figures
£7 million
15-metre immersive dome
360 ° experiences

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Since its inception, the project has excited us with its digital ambitions and impressive regeneration.
Sir Nicholas Serota, Arts Council England.
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