MICROSOFT + HELLENIC MINISTRY Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds

Digitally preserving Ancient Olympia through AI and Mixed Reality



Please click here to see the interactive website, here for the augmented reality app and here for the overall project link.

It was an absolute pleasure to envision and creative direct this project for A_DA and their client Microsoft during the first 8 months of the project.

Microsoft and the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports unveiled “Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds,” a multi-sensory and immersive experience and exhibit that recreates ancient Olympia and allows visitors to explore the site as it existed more than 2000 years ago. The experience explores how the ancient Olympic Games fostered “common ground” that was anchored in values such as peace, harmony, cooperation, equality, fairness, and respect.

The large-scale experience seamlessly weaves together many complex digital and physical touch points including an in-person exhibit at the Athens Olympic Museum, an interactive AR app, a web based platform and a Microsoft HoloLens 2 interactive model. A_DA, a NYC-based experience innovation and design agency, oversaw the masterplan for the project which was the first of its kind for both Microsoft and Greece, and took over two years to bring to life.

Part of Microsoft’s AI for Cultural Heritage initiative, the project digitally preserves 27 monuments on the site, including the original Olympic Stadium, the temples of Zeus and Hera, and the workshop of renowned sculptor Phidias. Users can tour the site remotely via a website or in person as they walk through the ruins of Olympia. The experience allows visitors to explore five days of activity around the historic Olympic Games and contribute their thoughts about the games with audio and text. At the Olympic Museum in Athens, they can use Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset to enhance the gallery experience. For example, when visitors are at the point of the exhibition featuring the Temple of Zeus, when they tilt-up, they see the towering statue of Zeus, when they turn left they can see inside the famed sculptor’s workshop. AI-enabled auto-translation brings the experience to users in more than 20 languages.