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Putting Sustainability First

At Imagineerium, our objective is to create designs that have as little negative environmental impact as possible. As we focus on sustainable production, we aim to develop and meet the needs of our clients without jeopardising the planet, taking into account the entire life cycle of the products used.

Changing consumer demands and a renewed focus on sustainability has forced designers and developers to adapt their approach and we believe that this will drive a resurgence in experiential events and immersive experiences, but in a whole new way.

A sustainable concept design by Imagineerium

We know that the most important step for a more conscious future is to inspire others and collaborate to make a significant change in the industry, so we hope to spark a conversation with our peers that highlights the more ecologically conscious and sustainable choices that can be made.

The big question now is how can we tell powerful stories, impact audiences, change the way people think, and immerse them in experiences, all the while not just having a less negative impact on the environment but by having a positive one?

The EU science Hub states that around 80% of the ecological impacts of a product are locked in at the design phase and we at Imagineerium are passionate about driving for a greener future in our industry.

Here, we unpick our green agenda to let you know how we do it and why forward thinking is so important for the future of Imagineerium.

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What is sustainable design?

In essence, sustainable design is an environmentally friendly approach to creativity that focuses on reducing consumption of non-renewable materials and resources, minimising waste, and producing a healthy, happy environment. From thinking about longevity of designs to efficiency, reusability and recyclability, designing with sustainability in mind addresses lifespan, our responsibility for the future of our beautiful planet and our authentic intention of the entire process from concept through to completion, even going beyond that to its future purpose, use or breakdown.

To protect the earth from any further damage, it is our responsibility to look at the potential in eco-friendly products and materials, finding creative ways to manipulate and transform them into masterpieces that can inspire and engage the world.

The story of a material and its journey is now also a part of the design concept, as well as the overall project, and can often be the main act and sometimes purpose of the installation or experience itself. This really is a fantastic move forward for the creative industry as we have witnessed the astonishing amount of refuse that makes its way to landfills each year from just our sector alone.

Desperate to see this continue to change, we aim to push sustainability to the forefront of our mission, but why is it important?

Why is sustainable design important?

We know that living and consuming more sustainably improves the quality of our lives, protects our ecosystem, and preserves natural resources for future generations. It also protects biodiversity, which means we can maintain a healthy planet for all creatures to live and flourish on.

Image from Unsplash

Sustainability is the key to a better future.

One of the most important things we have found when it comes to sustainability in design is innovation. We have found ourselves having to completely change our perspectives on how and what we design, as well as solving problems, researching all the materials we propose for designs and providing information and knowledge about their whole make-up and lifespan.

Sustainable design is also crucial for aiding in the energy and resource issues we face, and by looking into using alternative sources, such as, solar energy, wind energy and hydroelectricity rather than non-renewable fossil fuels, we can lower our overall carbon footprint and fulfil clients needs in a less harmful way.

Sustainability is also important for equality and social inclusion because it simply cannot be achieved if only a select few individuals reaped the benefits of it, it has to be an entire species effort from all social dimensions, which in turn works out in favour of female empowerment, education, equitable profit sharing for those from all nations and walks of life.

Image from Unsplash

In the end, living and designing sustainably can reduce costs and save money as efficiency and working with the environment, rather than against it, eliminates the high expenses of corrective measures. As difficult as change can seem, the benefits of sustainable design are endless, and they are so important for the future of our beautiful planet, so how do we commit to putting the environment first?

What do we do to bridge the gap between immersive experiential design and sustainability?

Clean energy and technology

Striving for authentic intention across the entire production process, we take responsibility for our immediate environment, the health and well-being of attendees, and the future of our great planet. Through the conservation of energy and using naturally sourced materials where possible, we aim to meet the needs of our clients without threatening the future of the planet.

Circular economy mindset

Waste is one of the biggest issues in our industry, so we are focused on a more circular economy mindset when approaching our work – reduce-reuse-recycle. We always start with the end-of-life question and aid our clients where we can, to make the most sustainable choice. At Imagineerium we see potential in materials that have previously been seen as useless, being creative with our designs to incorporate them and make them look ‘high end’, reusing all materials when and wherever possible. A good example of this is for our design of Frightmare, where we used anything and everything we could find on the farm to incorporate into the immersive experience.

We know that the circular mindset has to venture beyond the finished product and include the process as a whole, from transportation (including moving sets and people for the jobs), to the type of energy used to produce the designs and move through the fabrication stage.


Monitoring our activities gives us insight into where we can make the most impact in creating sustainable designs. We are passionate about turning visions into reality and providing tangible assets, but are also dedicated to minimising the waste of materials, designs, and lowering our overall impact on the planet.

Design Reuse

An initiative that is becoming more and more beneficial to all types of companies and brands, with fixtures often created for external events becoming a staple in offices, headquarters or even featuring on socials and in virtual advertising on a frequent basis. At Imagineerium we highly promote the idea of reduce, reuse and recycle, designing unique, durable and sustainable creations that can be used in any eventuality for many years to come. For example, our concept and design for the Totem stage, on the Common at Glastonbury 2022 needed to revolve around a previous set as the brief was to reuse and repurpose the pieces to create something that looked completely new and different.

Design and build: Imagineerium

Immersive Technology as a Tool

Technology can be a great way to analyse how sustainable our methods are and can help us monitor all stages of the creative and fabrication process.

Immersive learning technologies are also a great way to keep people engaged, ensure the true essence of “immersive’ remains, and enable impactful messages to continue to be relayed for each audience member / participant.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are revolutionising the design and construction industries by blending computer-generated information into a real environment, as well as providing a full sense of immersion. They transport audiences to the centre of the experience with the need for a lot less fabricated set surroundings and therefore far less materials and equipment is used to create the event. They also allow designers, like us, to offer clients the chance to experience and be at the centre of our creative process, visualising themselves in the space with the designed experience around them, rather than just seeing it on a screen. Being able to provide clients a preview of their design before it is physically built is beneficial for us as a design agency to foresee and prevent issues before the fabrication stage and in turn reduce waste.

The challenges

Every project comes to fruition differently and sometimes desired aesthetics can clash with achieving sustainability.

Often clients come to us with a concept or proposal that is not always compatible with a sustainable palette of materials and as designers it can be difficult to say to clients that we will not be using certain materials because they are not sustainable, even if they would be perfect for achieving their ideal finished product. However, we always aim to provide them with options that could be used instead that would give them a similar outcome. It often comes down to cost and this can be hard to negotiate.

Another factor can often be location and despite site-specific work usually having a hugely positive sustainability trait; using nature as part of the narrative, repurposing existing assets, and avoiding the waste of creating a temporary bespoke set, this may not be the case every time. Site-specific projects, such as green field festivals, require a great deal of infrastructure. From generating their own power using generators that can be burning hundreds of litres of diesel a day to fuel boilers or air conditioning units, huge stages full of equipment and food vendors, to ensuring all waste and sewage systems are properly managed, it's hard to fully keep track of the sustainability pledge at these sorts of events and experiences.

Even though extensive research is currently underway for temporary alternatives, such as hybrid generators, nothing has been proven to offer the sufficient horsepower to completely replace the standard diesel options. However, by combining a number of renewable forms of energy improvements are being made by some extremely innovative organisations to come up with more environmentally friendly power options for example, aggreko.

Forward Thinking - Our goals for the future

Striving towards becoming B corp certified, our future goals are to highlight the need, and ways, to lessen the environmental impact of the design sector by sparking conversations and highlighting the importance of repurposing and retaining materials, as well as using renewable energy to take a concept through to completion. Knowing the responsibility is ours, but also our clients’, we will focus on working with organisations to normalise environmental considerations at all stages of decision making.

Working on designing out waste, we will focus more on modular designs and using materials that can be split back out into component parts or even into their original form for future use.

Now more than ever, the events and immersive design industry needs a collective power to push a systemic change, and we hope to join forces with like-minded peers and clients to build a strong culture around climate-conscious thinking in the immersive and experiential events industry.

Final Thought

Changing demands and a renewed focus on sustainability has forced designers and developers to adapt their approach, as well as contribute to a new understanding of how business is done while serving future generations.

A regenerative, planet-centric approach is the only way forward, demonstrating alternative ways to design, fabricate, build and demolish. We believe that the willingness to make little changes and take small steps in a better direction can make a bigger difference than you think and we want to be a part of the movement that helps people make the best, most informed, decisions by designing sustainably and putting people at the heart of eco-friendly events and experiences.

If we can change the trajectory of what the future holds for this truly amazing planet, you can too…

Imagine That!


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