Back to the future

Historic Devonport Market Hall transformed into stunning space for digital innovation

From a Grade II listed historic fruit and veg hall to an immersive tech hub that Apple itself would feel at home in – that’s the headline story for the remarkable regeneration and repurposing of the former derelict Market Hall in Devonport, Plymouth. 

The £7.6 million, two-year project, led by Real Ideas Organisation, was unveiled to the public last summer to huge acclaim and has quickly become a creative and collaborative workspace for digital businesses, a gallery for artwork from students in the city, and a social hub for the community.

Square image of Devonport Market Hall
Square image of Devonport Market Hall

At its heart is an immersive dome, the first of its kind in Europe. Covering a floor space 15m in diameter, it can project head-spinning immersive films, wrapping you in 360° content. The University’s i-DAT research team, led by Professor Mike Phillips, has been a key partner since the inception of the project, and provided technical expertise during the installation.

“Our vision for Market Hall was to make immersive technology more accessible – for business, learning, wellbeing and entertainment – and to create progression routes for our graduates,” said Jenny Bishop, Head of Marketing and Communications at Real Ideas Organisation, and a University alumna. “But it’s also about regeneration. By placing this incredible dome in the heart of Devonport, one of the city’s most deprived communities, we’re challenging misconceptions, building new opportunities for people living here and growing positive associations for the future.”