Our old friends at Darabase are at it again, this time bringing us back in time through another London-spanning set of location-based AR activations. Specifically, the experience is an eight-stop Bridgerton-inspired audio-visual tour of Mayfair.
Understanding the Places and Players
There are a couple of moving parts to this one – particularly for our US readers. So, let’s take a moment to catch up on the essentials.
Hopefully, ARPost readers know about Darabase no matter where they are in the world. Darabase is a future-looking property management company that helps property owners manage their virtual space. This includes creating their own immersive activations, as well as keeping track of activations that other people might have put in their airspace.
Darabase doesn’t have much of a footprint in the US just yet, but XR is an international ball field. By breaking ground on topics like virtual property ownership, Darabase is contributing to universal topics that are and will impact the way that we handle virtual property on this side of the Atlantic.
Another hint for US readers – Mayfair is an area in West London containing a number of historical sights, as well as notable retailers. “Lock and Co. Hatters,” supposedly the oldest hat store in the world (and where Colin Firth sends Samuel L. Jackson to buy a bugged tophat in Kingsman) is located there.
Specifically, Darabase teamed up with long-time partner Grosvenor, an international property investment company. Grosvenor Square is a physical location in Mayfair that has been owned and operated by Grosvenor for longer than America has been a country. Grosvenor Square is also home to the Bridgerton family.
“Bridgerton” started life as a series of historical romance novels by American author Julia Quinn. However, beginning some twenty years after the publication of the first book, the stories have found new life in a wildly successful Netflix adaptation.
Set in Britain in the early 1800s, the series follows the namesake family as they navigate society, politics, and romance. However, it’s the dressmaker Genevieve Delacroix who makes an appearance in the AR experience. Sort of. Actress Kathryn Drysdale provides the narration for the historical AR tour of Mayfair.
“Mayfair has such a rich and glamorous history and this project will really allow visitors to plunge into a nostalgic world of balls, fabulous parties, and high society weddings, while also letting them make the most of Mayfair’s fun and fashionable present scene,” Drysdale said in a release shared with ARPost.
“In a Mayfair Fashion”
There are two ways to navigate the AR experience. The experience can be explored by people in Mayfair between June 16 and September 30. It can also be explored by people outside of Mayfair in desktop 3D.
If you happen to be in Mayfair, you navigate between experiences on foot. The participating locations each have a QR code that takes you to the experience on your mobile device.
If you happen to be anywhere else in the world, there is a 3D browser experience that gives you a birds-eye-view of Mayfair with icons for the participating locations. Click on each one to enter a 360-degree snapshot of the location, complete with the same audio and visual annotations that users get with the in-person mobile experience.
The eight locations explorable in either experience are:
- Grosvenor Square, the real-life home of the Bridgertons;
- The Beaumont Hotel, which started as a garage in the 1920s;
- Bourdon House – a men’s clothing store that was once home to a Duke of Westminster;
- Browns Brook Street – a modern boutique in a building built in the Bridgertons’ day;
- The Connaught Hotel, rebuilt in 1911 but a staple well before;
- Constance Spry’s shop on Audley Street where the Queen got her coronation flowers;
- Mercato Mayfair – now a collection of restaurants in a church that opened in 1920;
- Purdey & Sons, which still holds the record of dueling pistols sold in the 1830s.
However You Check it Out, Check it Out
If you’re in Mayfair, visiting these locations could be at least a full day – from going on the tour to actually checking out these locations and the businesses that operate there today. If you aren’t in Mayfair, check out the desktop experience, which will take less than an hour for all eight stops.
I’m in Michigan, and I’ve never seen an episode of Bridgerton. But, I had a great time touring these historical London locations all the same. Darabase and partners have set up an intuitive, user-friendly, accessible, and interesting AR experience. No matter how you check it out, it’s worth checking out.