Play Sage Gateshead

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“Virtual Reality Transforms an Iconic Concert Hall into an Instrument”the creators project

Executive Summary

Sage Gateshead is a concert venue and also a centre for musical education, located in Gateshead on the south bank of the River Tyne, in the North East of England. It opened in 2004 and is tenanted by the North Music Trust.
We transformed the iconic UK concert hall into a playable 3D instrument in a new app built by in collaboration with Atomhawk Design. Play Sage Gateshead allows users to enter a digitized version of the Sage Gateshead concert venue to bash walls and beating floors to create a percussive music track.

The Brief

Play Sage Gateshead was looking for a unique way to celebrate the Sage’s 10th anniversary. They needed something that would differentiate them from other clients and garner a lot of attention for their future performances.
The app had to be adaptable for touch devices, a desktop mouse and virtual reality head-mounted displays.
Since this was their first foray into digital art of this kind they needed a trusted partner who could lead them through the technical and creative nature of this work.


We developed the concept of a 3D environment in which participants could create music and presented to the Sage which they loved. Using photos and floor plans we rebuilt a 3D model of the space and developed an app in Unity. We recorded various sounds of the building being played by professional musicians and integrated the sounds into the application.

In the app the users could trigger the individual sounds and also layer them to create more complex soundscapes. An agile development process meant the client felt involved and control of the project and allowed us to adapt quickly on this experimental project.

This was deployed as a web app, iPhone and Oculus Rift app for PC. Play Sage Gateshead ran a special experience weekend in which the public were invited to come to the venue and experience it in virtual reality. This proved highly popular with audiences and gained press coverage in a number of publications. From the success of this the Sage plan to dedicate a separate budget for more of these activities in the next financial year.


space, the creators project, Imperica, Oculus, VRfocus, throwthediceandplay, lumen club


5000+ Web Sessions,

2500+ Visitors

Client Reaction

“Working on Play Sage Gateshead with Mbryonic has been a real joy for us here at Sage Gateshead. It is a very new form of commission for us and Mrbyonic’s expertise and creative flair has played a central role in bringing it to life.” – Adam Kent, Innovations Manager of Sage Gateshead,

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Sage Gateshead’s 10th birthday than to transform the building into a virtual musical instrument that audiences can play from anywhere in the world.”  Ruth Mackenzie, launch CEO of The SpaceCase Study 2: Veil


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