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‘D.S. DestiNY’ at the Cunard Building promises to transport you to a ‘surreal’ NYC with visual effects

"D.S. DestiNY" promises to take you on a whirlwind trip around New York City without leaving the Cunard Building. Photo Credit: D.S. DestiNY

Scan your boarding pass and be swept away across New York City in “D.S. DestiNY,” an immersive, 360-degree multimedia experience coming to the landmarked Cunard Building at the end of August.

After you check in inside the ornate waiting room of the century-old former steamship ticketing building, which sits in lower Manhattan, you’ll be whisked off on an “ocean liner” that will take you through a fantastical virtual journey around the city by using 3D motion graphics, 360-degree video mapping and other visual effects that are projected against the building’s architecture.

You’ll see skyscrapers, the bright lights and jubilant sounds of Broadway and learn about the multicultural melting pot the city has become.

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The experience, which will be a permanent installation, is not interactive theater, but you do participate in the experience, according to Natalie van Sasse van Ysselt, the director of “D.S. DestiNY.”

Using music, different languages, abstract characters and soundscapes, “D.S. DestiNY” aims to show off the city’s diversity and appeal in an “impressionist painting” kind of way as you walk around and interact with the space.

“We’re transporting visitors into dreams of what New York City will be and can be,” she told amNewYork. “It’s a mix of literal storytelling and a surreal but beautiful dream world. We’re trying to capture the electricity of the city and the vibe — it’s the reason why people come here.”

Built in the 1920s at 25 Broadway, the building was created as the headquarters for the British-American Cunard Steamship Company and Anchor Lines, which at that time were leading transatlantic steamship companies. The building, which is in the Italian Renaissance style, already has 65-foot-high vaulted ceilings, murals and frescos of steamship routes and sea life.

“Projects like this are special . . . you have to push the boundaries of technology,” van Sasse van Ysselt said. “Using set design and integrating new tech into the space was a positive challenge . . . in the space, you can’t drill into the walls.”

But it was a difficult balance to offer the new experience without overshadowing the building’s beauty, according to Giuseppe Cipriani, who leases the building’s great hall as an event venue.

“When we started this project, we were challenged with integrating state-of-the-art technology into a New York City-landmarked building while carefully respecting the protected historical architecture,” he said in a statement. “It was additionally important for the team to embrace and highlight the rich history and details of this grand space.”

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Moment Factory, the multimedia entertainment studio, which does concerts, museum set design, and 3D mapping, was up to the task with a body of work spanning the world, from a light show inside the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal to rock concerts like that of Arcade Fire.

The project will open officially in September. Tickets can be purchased at dsdestiny.com.