Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world, wanted their presence at the World Economic Forum in Davos to focus on the Manifa oil field project.

Manfia Bay lies in the Persian Gulf, off the coast of Saudi Arabia. Oil was discovered in 1957, but it lies just beneath the shallow waters of a fragile marine environment, making it impossible to access with conventional shallow water drill rigs. It wasn’t until recently that engineering and technology has advanced to a point where the oil can be reached whilst protecting the environment.

The Manfia Bay Project is a radical new approach by Aramco that involves the creation of 30 offshore platforms on 27 man-made lands. Each is the size of 10 football pitches, made from 45 million cubic meters of sand reclaimed from the seabed.

The wonderful creative agency Brandfuel were tasked with creating the experience at Davos, and knew they could rely on Studio Giggle to help create some of the animated content for the event. Giggle are well known to Brandfuel as a partner that can jump on a technical animation brief at short notice and run with it.


The brief came in a week before Christmas, and the deadline was only a month away. Studio Giggle were tasked with creating 3 aspects of the experience:

  • A virtual elevator for delegates to stand in, that would descend from space, towards the sea, and plunge down through the rock to the oil.
  • The creation of a hologram, explaining a part of the drilling process
  • An underwater, animated world, that guests could walk through,

Saudi Aramco virtual elevator at the World Economic Forum

Creative Director of Studio Giggle, Jonathan Brigden immediately got to work, assembling a team in the studio that included a couple of highly skilled freelancers to help tackle the specialist task of the hologram.

Within just a week, 3D pre-visualisations of the walkthroughs were created so that the client could picture the finished product to scale. The script, acting as the voiceover for the elevator experience was ready to be signed off. Marine life was researched and models of the correct fish and coral were being assembled into a bespoke reef. Offsite from the studio, a 3D model of the oil field was being crafted into a hologram.



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