There’s something other-worldly about beautifully lit monuments, and few can elevate the magic further the way Andrei Snobar can. Originally an architect, Snobar, the founder of Andrei Visuals, is among Jordan’s best projection mapping artists, whose work has found its way everywhere, from Ibiza Light Festival to the sprawling Al Wasl Dome at Expo 2020 Dubai. So stunning is the work of Andrei Visuals, that it also caught Vogue Arabia’s eye for the 2022 edition of the Ball of Arabia. A celebration of the divas of the region, the ball went down the ’80s glamour theme, and Andrei Visuals’s disco ball renditions were among the many highlights of the decor for the evening.
Relying mainly on AutoCAD for 3D modeling, Andrei Snobar and his team have become pros at creating interactive art installations and animated videos that fascinate spectators and bring an element of whimsy to any space they work on. Below, Vogue Arabia chats with the mastermind behind the unique creations that are slowly but surely lighting up the whole world.
From architect student to 3D mapping pro, you have come a long way. Tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to change your field.
As an architecture student, I was always fascinated by the design process and the impact that buildings and spaces have on people. However, it wasn’t until I saw a 3D mapping show live that I realized the full potential of architecture and technology combined. I was amazed by the intricate details and spirited effects that were created through the use of light projection. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, and it left a lasting impression on me. The moment I saw that show was a turning point for me. I realized that there was so much more to architecture. By integrating technology and light, we can unleash new dimensions and possibilities that were once only limited to our imagination. At that point, I was certain that I wanted to work in the cutting-edge field of 3D mapping, which enables you to express creativity.
Can you break down exactly what it is that Andrei Visuals focuses on? How does your team work on each project?
At Andrei Visuals, we are passionate about crafting captivating experiences that fully immerse and engage our clients. Our guiding belief is that with the strategic use of light, any space can be transformed into a truly extraordinary environment. We start every project by thoroughly studying the space, getting to know its every detail. With that knowledge, we let our imaginations run wild and brainstorm ideas that tap into the power of storytelling to create experiences that truly captivate our audience. Once we have a clear concept in place, we dive into the technical aspects, working as a team to deliver a product that meets our exacting standards. Our success depends on effective collaboration, so we keep communication lines open and work closely together every step of the way. This is how we ensure that our vision is upheld and our work always achieves the highest level of quality.
Over the years, you have worked on quite a few interesting projects ranging from live visuals to architectural pieces. Which type of work do you enjoy the most, and why?
If I had to choose one type of work that I enjoy the most, it would have to be architectural 3D mapping, specifically on historical buildings and heritage sites. These buildings hold so much history and memories, and it is a true joy to bring these stories to life through projection mapping as it elevates the architectural reality. It offers the possibility to rethink the processes of externalization of architecture. Architecture manages to be better seen, to fight against its erasure and becomes a theatre of memory, resulting in heritage resilience. These projects offer a chance to connect with our shared human history in a tangible and meaningful way, creating a memorable experience for the audience that not only informs but also inspires.
In your career, which project has been the most challenging, and why? How were you able to make it work?
One of our most challenging projects was the Al Wasl Dome at Expo 2020 Dubai. This was a colossal undertaking, featuring a 130-meter-wide and 67.5-meter-tall dome that also served as a 360-degree laser projection surface, powered by 260 projectors. We were tasked with bringing this unprecedented 3D mapping project to life.
Meeting the tight deadline was a huge challenge for us, as we had to create extremely intricate and nuanced content. To develop the concept, we had to conduct research and gain an understanding of the culture and history of another country. This required constructing a visual narrative that would accurately depict their story. Despite the complexity of the project, our team worked together to ensure that every detail was just right. The audience was transported to a whole new world where they could experience the lost history and culture in a truly exhilarating way. It remains one of our proudest accomplishments to this day.
You were the mastermind behind the beautifully detailed, super colorful light visuals at the 2022 Vogue Ball of Arabia. How did you conceptualize the visuals? What was your favorite thing about the result?
Our team was given the challenge of designing a visually captivating experience for an event that was themed around the “glitz and glam” of the ’80s era, but with an Arabian influence. We brainstormed and identified the defining characteristics of both styles, hoping to merge them in a way that was both elegant and dramatic. We ultimately decided on combining Islamic arches with the mashrabiya, and incorporating the 80’s disco ball, as it is an iconic symbol from that era. When we finally saw the end result, we were impressed with how it turned out – the arches added depth to the space and provided a striking visual contrast to the colorful disco balls. Together, they created a lively and engaging atmosphere that perfectly captured the essence of the event.
Where do you think your work is most relevant – at celebrations or at art exhibits?
I believe that the significance of our work goes beyond its practical purpose. Instead, it is about the experience it creates and how each element contributes to the overall ambiance. At celebrations, our work can bring an added layer of excitement and wonder to the already vibrant atmosphere. By serving as a backdrop to the event, the visuals can heighten the overall experience for the attendees. Alternatively, in art exhibitions, the setting is more controlled and intimate, allowing the audience to take their time to observe and appreciate the details and significance of the work. In this context, our work can challenge viewers to contemplate and connect emotionally, leaving a lasting impression.
What is the message you’d like to share with the world via your work?
I believe in the power of art to bring people together and inspire positive change. Life is brimming with beauty, and it is our responsibility to appreciate and cherish it. By utilizing the power of light in our creations, we aspire to shine a spotlight on creativity and promote a sense of inspiration and encouragement. My objective is to generate impactful experiences that will leave a lasting impression and contribute to improving the world around us.
Finally, what can we expect from Andrei Visuals in the future?
Very soon we will be revealing our latest project. For the first time in the world, we are going to light up one of the ancient world wonders, the Petra Treasury. Petra Light Festival is a stunning visual and musical experience presented on the breathtaking Nabataean Treasury in Petra. This multimedia show combines dynamic light, music, and expressive narratives to bring the beauty of the Rose City to life.