How projection mapping can transform a limited area into a limitless space

Small spaces do not have to limit your creativity or the impact of your events. Embrace the challenges and opportunities that come with working in compact environments and use projection mapping to turn these constraints into strengths. By leveraging the power of this incredibly creative technology, you can craft immersive and engaging experiences that transport audiences to new worlds, captivate their imaginations, and inspire their hearts and minds.

Projection mapping is a cutting-edge technology that has the power to transform limited spaces into seemingly limitless realms filled with immersive experiences. Whether we’re building stunning activations for global events or crafting unforgettable moments at intimate gatherings, projection mapping can unlock the potential of any location. So what are today’s projectionists doing to bring the world’s finest activations to life in limited spaces?

What is Projection Mapping?

If you’re already a seasoned pro, skip to the next section.  If you want to learn more about projection mapping itself, start here – you’ll need to know the basics before we proceed. 

In this article, we delve into the world of projection mapping and explore how it can redefine the potential of small spaces.

Projection mapping, also known as video mapping or spatial augmented reality, is a rapidly evolving creative technology that has revolutionized the world of multimedia art and marketing by using specialized software to project images and videos onto both flat and non-flat surfaces such as buildings, sculptures, or natural landscapes. The software calculates the geometry and shape of the surface to be mapped and generates a virtual 3D model that aligns perfectly with the physical object. 

The result is a stunning visual illusion that can make objects appear to move, morph, or disappear in real-time. With its ability to transform ordinary surfaces into mesmerizing displays of color, motion, and light, projection mapping has become a staple of experiential marketing and art installations.

To create a projection mapping installation, artists and designers must consider several factors, such as the shape and texture of the surface, the lighting conditions, and the content to be projected. They also need to use projectors with high brightness and resolution to ensure that the visuals are crisp and vibrant in your given setting. By measuring the light of the intended location, projectors of appropriate power can be procured and modifications to the placement, timing, or location of the show can be made as needed.

Turn The Size of Your Space into an Advantage

So, how do we transform a small space into an advantage? While a smaller area gives us less room to work with, projection mapping eschews traditional limitations and can make experiential events in smaller spaces appear larger than life. 

Because projection mapping requires very little room to get started, you can highlight desirable features, obscure undesirable ones, and re-craft the visual experience of even the smallest spaces to suit your activations. With the right setup and programming, you can even evolve your experience throughout the event.

“Projection mapping can be an astonishing and delightful vehicle for delivering transformative experiences.”

Tony Owen, Director of Interactive Technology at Cognition

Keep in mind that the position of your hardware, accents, and props can make a world of difference. At one angle, an otherwise eye-catching prop could be cast in shadows that make the room seem even smaller than it is. However, at the right angle, your projector can beautifully illuminate it and add depth and dimension to the room courtesy of thoughtfully designed projection mapping visuals. Lean into the natural benefits of your event location or venue and don’t be afraid to get creative to enhance your results.

For instance, you can craft breathtaking visual experiences for your audience with everything from 3D artwork and branding to truly lifelike environments. These can mitigate the weaknesses and emphasize the strengths of your smaller space, obscuring undesirable features while bringing people closer together.

With the ability of 3D projection mapping to create fully immersive environments, you may find situations where your projections can replace the need for physical props or products altogether. Sometimes, you just have to see it to believe it.

Make Projection Mapping Events Feel Larger Than Life

By creating a digital model of the space and providing your viewers with an engaging 3D display that feels real, you can transport your audience to another world – one of your own making (or theirs). Quality projection mapping can provide incredible results at an affordable price even in small venues, potentially making it the ideal solution to achieving maximum impact in a limited space. 

From product launches to professional sports arenas, concerts, and museum exhibits, projection mapping can leave a lasting impression on attendees. Automakers like BMW have even begun using foam shells that look just like their vehicles to project stunning content onto them without having to transport or risk damage to the vehicles themselves.

Using the right images, you can create experiences that feel nearly infinite, even if the space or surface seems far too small. An activation that blends projection mapping and mirrors can turn a small room at an annual meeting into an infinite corridor. A museum’s art exhibit can leverage the same creative technology to send visitors on an immersive out-of-body experience within a fully enclosed infinity room using visual tricks created by casting projections onto every visible surface.

Enhancing Presentations in Smaller Spaces

No matter the occasion, projection mapping can transform any presentation into something truly memorable. It’s an effective way to engage your audience and make them feel like part of something bigger than themselves.

For example, Twitter utilized projection mapping during their Flight Developer Conference to create an eye-catching 3D backdrop for the keynote stage, resulting in over 2,000 attendees, 1.5 billion media impressions, and 3 billion+ Tweets featured on social media aggregation. In the Twitter case study, Cognition designed purpose-built interactives using the Twitter platform, such as Game of Tweets and Raining Tweets, which allowed attendees to engage with the platform in creative ways between sessions.

Projection mapping is an incredibly versatile method for turning any surface into a visual display, adding extra dimensions and optical illusions that alter how people view what they see. It also creates illusions of movement and depth, making them more immersive and captivating for viewers.

The initial step in any successful project is selecting a surface that will bring the projection to life. This could range from a wall or stage to pillars or backdrops. As a pro tip, when organizing a projection mapping event as part of a presentation, allow yourself at least 8-14 weeks to develop and set up the content. After that, use an alignment grid to finalize your presentation and test it before showtime.

Breathe Life into Your Venue

Have you ever taken a stroll past a building at night and noticed how its illuminated features stand out better? Projection mapping takes this further and can turn both indoor and outdoor features of your event into an eye-catching display that inspires the mind and captivates the heart.

In a recent example, Tatcha partnered with Cognition to offer a one-of-a-kind guided meditation experience at a smaller retail space at The Grove in Los Angeles.

 where guests were immersed in a magical journey through the Hinoki trees of Japan. It felt authentic and immersive due to the combination of 360-degree projection mapping, diffused essential oils, low-laying fog, wind, and audio. The results of the pop-up event were impressive, with several key metrics demonstrating its success:

  • The event attracted 197% more attendees than the industry average, highlighting the ability of projection mapping to draw a larger audience.
  • The branded hashtag for the event had 2.5 times more engagement than the industry average, indicating a high level of interest and interaction.
  • With 140% more hashtag impressions than the industry average, the event generated substantial visibility and awareness for Tatcha. 
  • With an average dwell time of over 11 minutes, the event’s 2,950 guests spent a significant amount of time at the event, indicating a high level of immersion and enjoyment.
  • Tatcha’s social media impact underscores the event’s popularity with a net follower growth of 3,000 and a total reach of 22,730,782.

Results like these emphasize the effectiveness of projection mapping in creating memorable experiences that resonate with audiences and generate strong engagement both in person and on social media. So, how can you pull that off with a smaller space?

Play into the strengths of your smaller event’s physical features to augment your design and visually engage your audience with a one-of-a-kind display. 

Projection mapping can create the appearance that your images wrap around the structure like digital paint, transforming anything from domes and pillars to entire castles into an interactive 3D showcase. With the right positioning, lighting, and visuals, you can turn even the smallest spaces into an engaging work of art that feels larger than life. 

In outdoor spaces, you can even use trees or natural or fabricated structures as a versatile canvas to augment your viewers’ experiences and bring your digital art to life. A perfect example of this was the interactive sphere Garbicz Music Festival in 2019. The inflatable sphere was animated with 3D projection mapping and controlled by a drum pad that allowed visitors to influence the sphere’s imagery in tune with the rhythm of the drum.


Projection mapping is a constantly evolving field that offers endless possibilities for creative expression and innovation – even in the smallest spaces. 

As technology advances and new techniques emerge, we can expect to see even more breathtaking and interactive installations that blur the lines between art, technology, and reality. We’re already creating full-body immersion experiences that transport audiences to other worlds and personalized displays that respond to individual viewers. Even shadowless projection mapping is becoming a thing – just imagine what we’ll come up with next. 

Whether you are an artist, designer, marketer, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty and power of visual art, projection mapping is a trend that will delight visitors at our events for years to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.