In the lead up to the centenary of the Armistice the Imperial War Museums (IWM) has launched a new virtual reality experience that brings to life a never-built, national memorial to the British men and women who died during the First World War. The Hall of Remembrance was commissioned by the government to mark the end of the First World War but was never built due to a lack of funds. Now, thanks to the award-winning VR specialists Immersive Studios, viewers will be able to explore this landmark for the first time.
The Hall of Remembrance was commissioned by the British government towards the end of the First World War and was intended to be a bespoke gallery for commemoration and remembrance. A design for the Hall of Remembrance was drawn up by Charles Holden and artworks were commissioned from some of the most prominent twentieth century war artists, including Paul Nash, Stanley Spencer and John Singer Sargent. Though never realised, the immersive power of VR allows the gallery to be finally created and the paintings displayed.
Matthew Martin, Managing Director at Immersive Studios, said: “We’re very proud to be able to help IWM bring the Hall of Remembrance to life. The developments in immersive technology make it possible to recreate and experience digital spaces as if you’re physically there. For the Hall of Remembrance, this was the perfect solution. We could display artworks on the walls of a 3D modelled environment – helping the space come alive virtually and giving as close to a realistic walk-through as possible through a web browser. It allows visitors to explore the artwork in their own time – providing a fitting and poignant memorial to the First World War.”
Immersive Studios created the VR experience by using interactive 360-degree technology to accurately render the virtual recreation of the Hall of Remembrance and its contents. Users are invited to take a virtual tour and navigate through the 3D space and learn more about the painting that were never actually displayed in their intended environment.
Alex Walton, Curator of First World War and Early Twentieth Century at IWM, said: “As the end of the First World War approached in 1918, time and money were in too short a supply for the British government to realise their plans for the Hall of Remembrance. Today, all that remains of the plans are the letters, documents, design and commissioned artworks. The works of art became part of IWM’s own collections. Using these as a starting point, this new interactive gives members of the public the chance to step into a virtual Hall of Remembrance and see some of the most important British paintings and sculpture which haven’t physically been displayed together since 1920.”
The VR experience is available to view now and ten of the paintings commissioned for the Hall of Remembrance are currently on display at IWM North as part of the Lest We Forget? exhibition. For more on both the IWM and Immersive Studios in the future, keep reading VRFocus.