London butterfly trail: Video of Outernet’s amazing immersive experience at Tottenham Court Road

The Butterfly Trail can be experienced for free at The Now Building, next to Tottenham Court Road station.

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An immersive, mixed-reality display has opened in the heart of London, where visitors can interact with butterflies in a virtual world.

The Butterfly Trail is a collaboration between Outernet and Pixel Artworks, which say it is the world’s first mixed reality experience. It can be experienced for free next to Tottenham Court Road station.

By scanning a QR code and viewing through their phones, visitors can hold a virtual butterfly in the palm of their hand.

The butterflies are released from their chrysalises onto the floor-to-ceiling, ultra-HD screens at The Now Building.

The display centres on the fictional narrative of Professor Peter Pelgrin and his magical Botanical Workshop and Glass House, with an abundance of flora and fauna displayed.

The Butterfly Trail, next to Tottenham Court Road. (Photo by Outernet)The Butterfly Trail, next to Tottenham Court Road. (Photo by Outernet)
The Butterfly Trail, next to Tottenham Court Road. (Photo by Outernet)

Gavin Macarthur, senior creative director at Pixel Artworks, said: “We knew that we wanted to provide a magical element to this natural and organic theme, and started thinking about different stories we could use to combine this with the story of the professor and his Glass House.”

He added: “We took inspiration from classic children’s stories such as The Secret Garden and Tom’s Midnight Garden, but also from modern-day cinema such as Paddington and Up which feature fantastical elements.”

Outernet’s The Butterfly Trail, in collaboration with Pixel Artworks, at Tottenham Court Road. (Photo by Outernet)Outernet’s The Butterfly Trail, in collaboration with Pixel Artworks, at Tottenham Court Road. (Photo by Outernet)
Outernet’s The Butterfly Trail, in collaboration with Pixel Artworks, at Tottenham Court Road. (Photo by Outernet)

Alexandra Payne, head of creative at Outernet, said: “This is the first time we’ve done mixed reality in this space, combining what people are seeing on their phones and on the screens around them.

“We wanted to take augmented reality and refine it and make it user-friendly, and we have loved combining the showpiece of the butterfly garden and the more intimate botanical workshop space to create an immersive experience.”

The Butterfly Trail is playing every day between midday and 6pm at The Now Building until the end of this year.

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