Pushing the boundaries of VR with Onyx
AIG Global Real Estate
Property & Placemaking
3D Design & CGI
VR & AR
Onyx is a new luxury student accommodation development in the heart of Birmingham and one of the largest in the UK. A place where residents can live, work, play and thrive with everything they need all under one roof. When it comes to student accommodation, Onyx is really raising the bar. Our job was to create an electrifying brand, website and integrated launch campaign that would reflect this. Most importantly, they had to fill the rooms – fast.
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Our journey began with the development of a name and brand identity, the inspiration for which came from the immense presence of the building itself. Tall, commanding and slick, the building comprises two bold, angular towers with sharply-defined ‘razor’ edges, rising 13 and 24 stories respectively and finished with a smooth black gloss, giving it an almost crystalline appearance. Onyx was born.
The name Onyx is also a nod to Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter that borders the development – a vibrant business and commercial district rich in heritage and packed full of places to eat, meet and socialise. Just like the building itself, the name Onyx is strong, confident, contemporary and distinctive.
The brand mark is reminiscent of the sharp characteristics of cut onyx and resembles the shape of the actual building itself. The concept for the branding and its story developed around the notion of a cosmos, an intergalactic, interconnected system of many parts that combine to form a well-ordered, brilliant whole – much like the Onyx community.
Using this commanding and dynamic brand identity, we then developed a dynamic website and supported it with a hard-working PPC and social campaign, all complemented by a stunning suite of photorealistic CGI images of the building’s rooms and spaces. We also managed brand partnerships and a stakeholder and resident engagement strategy in the run-up to the building’s opening, including a state-of-the-art VR experience. Visit the website here
With VR, the possibilities really are endless. Any setting, any emotion, can be wrapped around the audience, bringing them into the action in a very real way. This is exactly what we were able to accomplish with the Onyx VR experience utilising the latest stand-alone and portable Oculus Go hardware, both in the showroom and at events elsewhere.
After donning the headset, users were launched into outer space in a captivating orbit before zooming past constellations resembling notable buildings and features of Birmingham city centre, like the Bullring statue. They then arrived at the Onyx building and explored the exterior landscaped gardens before being welcomed into the homely reception area.
Watch the Onyx VR experience:
The key to adding creative flair to the experience was incorporating dynamic transitions between scenes and effects that really emphasised the fully immersive 3D nature of VR while highlighting the building’s amenities at the same time. For example, in one transition popcorn flies towards and past the user, symbolising the cinema room, while in another scene all of the items in the room are hit by a zero-gravity effect.
The experience ends with a view of the two impressive roof terraces before the user then returns to the skies where they’re left with an empowering and optimistic sign-off: “It’s written in your stars”, positioning Onyx as not just a place to live, but a community that will support students and help them to reach their full potential.
Our aim for Onyx was to create an experience like no other. One that would ultimately entice and drive our audiences to book a room. With sales targets hitting more than 30% occupancy in the first four weeks, and the building 90% let almost two months before completion, it was clear to see our campaign had the desired effect.