Cairn Center - Spatial User Experience

Storytelling Through Immersive Environments

Created & curated a compelling 3D experience for visitors that showcases an Oil & Gas Company's exploration and growth story through an immersive themed space with engaging interactive installations.


  • Environment Experience Designer
  • Content Strategist
  • Visual & Interaction Designer
  • Technical Designer

Skills & Tools

  • Sketching for Concept Ideation
  • Scaled Paper Models for 3D Visualization
  • AutoCAD for Technical Detailing
  • Google Sketchup & VRay for HighFidelity Renders

Research & Design Objectives

Elephant Design was approached to design and help implement a corporate office for Cairn, Oil and Gas vertical of Vedanta Limited that would represent their collaborative work culture with a friendly, yet global professional feel. My role as a part of the environment design team was to specifically design an experience center that educates about the organization to its visitors and new recruits.

  • Educate users about the natural resources abundant in India and its story from discovery to production
  • Display the company’s culture, diverse portfolio & community building activities
How might we desaign an immersive spatial experience that provides a snaek peak into the world of Cairn India and demonstarte the company's safety, sustainability and social responsibilities to encourage an open dialogue with the visitors and ensue mutual respect.

Information & Spatial Architecture

Spatial Narrative

The story of Cairn’s oil exploration from discovery to production to how it impacts the lives of the community formed the main backbone of the content layout. This narrative helped determine the primary visitor flow within the space and the framework for the location of the individual exhibits that served as interactive touch points.

Visitor Flow

User behavior within a space is very unpredictable. Given the restricted size of the space, in order to avoid tight bottlenecks that blocked the flow for incoming visitors, I explored multiple visitor flows to test and validate the final layout of the space. This helped balance the number of stationary & interactive exhibits.

Visual Design

The overall look and feel the experience center was kept in tandem with the theme of the building, TERRA and was designed specifically to evoke a feeling of being under the earth’s surface inside a live mine. Pipes & jagged walls were used as a repetitive metaphor that seamlessly flowed from floor to ceiling.

The ambience was created using back-lit angled paneling and themed environment graphics with an earthy color palette. The black ceiling and spot-lights illuminate individual exhibits making them appear like jewels inside a mine. This elevated the overall ambiance engaging the visitors in a compelling immersive experience.

Interaction Touch Points

One of the key challenges designed and executed was creating two important interaction touchpoints that not only showcased Cairn's achievements over the years but also represent it across each of its assets :

Mapping Cairn's Global Portfolio

An interactive world map (image:left) showcased the global footprint of Cairn India engaging the visitors to take a journey through its timeline with the help of a time dial (image:right-top) and a large video screen (image:right-bottom) that displayed the company’s expansive portfolio of assets. When the user selects a year on the time dial some of the 3d LED dots on the graphical map glow, each representing an oil exploration site. When the visitor selects any of them, the touch sensors trigger the related presentation clip on the video screen.

Showcasing Cairn's Assets

The other key interactive exhibit was the Asset Panel (image:left) showcased inside the experience center. Touch sensitive 3D icons represented each of Cairn’s 6 Assets. When the visitor presses on one 3D icon (image:right-top), the selection trigger they change color and related information clips play on the LED screens (image:right-bottom) allowing the visitor to browse through each asset individually. The clips talk about the asset’s exploration sites, new discoveries & process technologies adopted by the company for producing them.

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