Vue Orleans is an unprecedented cultural attraction and observation experience situated in a national historical landmark, the former World Trade Center. The transformation of the landmark tower to a Four Seasons Hotel opened the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind public attraction within the historic space.

Rethinking The Future Awards 2024
First Award | Exhibition Design (Built)

Project Name: Vue Orleans
Category: Exhibition Design (Built)
Studio Name: CambridgeSeven
Design Team: Peter Sollogub; Nicole Kleman, AIA; Yongjoo Kim, AIA
Area: 15,000 Square Feet
Year: 2021
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Consultants: Natalie Zanecchia Design; Cortina Productions; Eos Lightmedia; 1220 Exhibits
Photography Credits: Kwesi Budu-Arthur, CambridgeSeven

Render Credits: N/A
Other Credits: N/A

Vue Orleans by CambridgeSeven sheet2
©Kwesi Budu-Arthur, CambridgeSeven

Every turn entertains, educates and surprises through interactive exhibits celebrating the essence of New Orleans and impact of the Mississippi River on the city’s physical and cultural landscape.

New Orleans culture—music, food, art, civil rights, river and bayou—comes alive through memorable exhibit design and colorful environmental graphics enhanced with touchless technology: movement-responsive digital murals, transparent storytelling displays, augmented reality viewers, game-based interactives and immersive theaters. This triumphant display of multiculturalism and how the confluence of cultures shaped the city offers a new perspective of the iconic Big Easy.

Vue Orleans by CambridgeSeven sheet1
©Kwesi Budu-Arthur, CambridgeSeven

Each gallery begins with English, French and Spanish descriptions and multilingual options at the digital interactives. Visitors start at a gesture-based LED wall to meet virtual, life-size historical figures. Soul Queen Irma Thomas, voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau, and po’boy baker George Leidenheimer respond in real time to visitor engagement. At the simulated café modeled after quintessential local restaurants, visitors learn about the cultural significance of local dishes from Chef Kevin Belton.

A New Orleans exhibition wouldn’t be complete without music, so visitors are invited to explore song clips exemplifying musical genres developed in, or profoundly influenced by, the city. Standing beneath giant trumpet bells, they use touchless technology to learn about artists like Basile Bares and Big Freedia. Just like a real evening on Bourbon Street, an energetic, virtual parade periodically overtakes the whole environment.

Vue Orleans by CambridgeSeven sheet4
©Kwesi Budu-Arthur, CambridgeSeven

Visitors ascend from the ground-floor galleries to Floor 33 via an immersive elevator experience in which video screens surround visitors with views of a rapidly changing New Orleans, offering a one-minute history of three centuries of city growth.

Unlike typical observation experiences, Vue Orleans creates parallels between past and present, orienting visitors to neighborhoods, landmarks and stories. A floor-spanning terrazzo compass rose orients visitors to the expansive panorama; an original mural of the river highlights significant geographic and man-made features; and the glass enclosure is annotated with a backlit ribbon of archival imagery corresponding to areas in view.  Augmented reality viewers, echoing retro, coin-operated viewfinders, swivel, zoom and display facts about historic sites, buildings and the attractions seen beyond the windows. And highlighting the Mississippi River’s relationship to the city, the Working River multi-user table invites visitors to grab the wheel of a Mississippi riverboat and pilot it around notorious Algiers Point. Exhibits conclude at the exterior observation deck and café on the 34th floor, where visitors can enjoy unobstructed, 360-degree views of the city.

An exhibition designed to capture the confluence of cultures that shaped New Orleans, Vue Orleans itself is a confluence of design feats and innovative visitor experiences.