Sarner International, an award-winning design-and-build practice behind some of the world's best-loved heritage, cultural and themed attractions, have been working on a new major visitor attraction that will take visitors on an immersive and informative journey through the past and present of the beautiful islands of Malta, bringing to life their history and heritage like never before.
The cutting-edge attraction fuses entertainment with education, and features an immersive dark walk experience, an interactive exhibition, and a flying theatre ride - the first of its kind in Malta. It is situated inside Mercury Towers, an iconic new development designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (and one of the last designs that featured the hand of Zaha herself). At ground level, this new destination retains an impeccable reimagining of historic, Grade 2 listed Mercury House that dates from 1903 which has been painstakingly restored and repurposed to be enjoyed by future generations. It is juxtaposed against a central structure – Mercury Tower – which soars to 33 floors, making it Malta’s tallest building to date and features a breathtaking twist midway gifting Malta with an icon of contemporary architecture.
Once fully operational, Mercury Towers aspires to become a new cultural hub in St Julians, Malta, embodying the essence of contemporary urban living through a vibrant quarter of retail outlets, public spaces, diverse dining options, bars, cafes, the latest ME Hotel by Melia and the very best in entertainment facilities – all of which is underpinned by a rich and diverse program of cultural initiatives.
The attraction itself is the result of a multi-million-euro investment by Mercury, and begins with a multi-show dark walk that reveals the traces of history which lie behind all that is on offer in Malta today: from the oldest manmade structures in the world to the critical battles that echoed around Europe. Visitors will also learn the story of Mercury House, the site of the attraction and previously an underground Control Centre and a vital communication hub during WWII, before experiencing a multi-projector show that celebrates Malta in the present day.
The visit culminates with a ride on board a custom-built flying theatre designed and delivered by leading entertainment attractions supplier Simtec Systems. Featuring stunning footage and spectacular special on board effects, the flying theatre simulator ride guarantees a thrilling experience which uses a six-degrees-of-freedom motion platform to take visitors on a magical flight around the islands - a truly memorable experience suitable for the entire family.
The new attraction at Mercury Towers will be a fully immersive multisensory experience, education, and celebration of Malta in 60 minutes, featuring advanced effects that include projection mapping, 3D multi-channel sound, smoke and water effects.
Throughout the creation process Sarner has collaborated closely with Heritage Malta to ensure the highest level of authenticity. This historical accuracy is reflected in the storytelling, the incredible physical scenic recreations, and in the film content which harnesses Mercury’s commitment to innovation and technology, by blending live action and Hollywood-level CG visual effects. Filming took place throughout the Maltese islands and includes new stunning aerial footage and filmed reenactment, all delivered in ultra-high definition 8k.
The result is truly a new breed of flying theatre. Much more than just a "fly over" experience, this industry-first project seamlessly harmonizes immersive storytelling and informative scene-setting shows with a historical story-led flying theatre ride and immersive special effects to create an attraction that is both educational and thrilling, setting a new benchmark for the heritage attractions sector.
This groundbreaking project continues to enhance Sarner’s reputation as an industry trailblazer, exemplifying their unique expertise in combining the substance and authenticity of cultural attractions with the experiential power of themed entertainment and motion rides to create new generation immersive ‘edutainment’ experiences that meet the increasingly sophisticated, demanding expectations of modern audiences. It is also a key component in solidifying Mercury’s position as the undisputed destination for leisure and entertainment in Malta.
The attraction will appeal to both local and international audiences, opening with eight language options.
Further details to be revealed ahead of the official launch, expected later in the year.
Ross Magri, Managing Director, Sarner International: “We are thrilled to be able to bring the rich history, sights, and beautiful nature of Malta to life in this unique attraction, a first for the Maltese islands. This will be a special experience for every visitor. Sarner's expertise shines through this innovative blend of heritage authenticity, theme park entertainment, and engineering brilliance. The attraction serves as the ultimate destination for those seeking an unparalleled multisensory experience that marries historic storytelling with cutting-edge motion and effects. This project underscores Sarner's position as the go-to partner for clients looking to create a truly distinctive and industry-defying attraction.”
Andreas Stickel, Director Business Development, Simtec Systems: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work together with Sarner on this wonderful project. It was a challenge for both, Sarner and Simtec, to include such an immersive attraction within the constraints of the available space in the building. With our HEXaFLITE®mini, developed for small spaces, we have managed to meet this challenge. This is our first mini flying theater in Europe, and we are very proud to have it installed in Malta!”
Marcel Bonnici, CEO, Mercury Towers: "We are honoured to partner with global leaders Sarner International and Simtec Systems to bring Malta's history to life through this truly unique concept. This groundbreaking attraction embodies our commitment to creating unforgettable moments which cannot be experienced elsewhere – in this case, through a fully immersive cultural attraction, which provides thrilling entertainment while serving as an enriching educational experience. Using immersive storytelling and cutting-edge innovation and technology, this unique concept for Europe is set to stimulate the senses, and provide a one-of-a-kind journey through time. The attraction is just one initiative in which Mercury aims to celebrate Malta’s heritage and take it into the future.”
About Sarner International
With over 50 years of experience in the industry, Sarner is a leading international experiential design and production practice behind many of the world's best-loved immersive exhibitions, museums, attractions, theme parks and branded destinations. An experienced team with a proven track record in delivering attractions that stand out from the competition, Sarner has a global reputation for creating award-winning destinations that spark wonder, drive recommendations and boost visitor numbers. To find out more, visit https://sarner.com.
About Simtec Systems
Simtec is a manufacturer of first-class, high-end entertainment simulator systems such as Dark Rides, HEXaFLITE® Flying Theatres and open and closed FUNRIDE motion-based systems with more than 30 years of experience. To find out more, visit https://simtec.de.
About Mercury Towers
Mercury Towers aspires to create new cultural hub that epitomizes vibrant downtown living. Comprising Malta's tallest residential tower, the luxury ME Hotel by Meliá and a new quarter of retail, public spaces, restaurants, bars, cafes and entertainment, Mercury Towers is an unforgettable farewell from one of the world’s exceptional architects. The central structure, Mercury Tower, soars spectacularly to 33 floors. Notable for a number of reasons, it is one of Zaha Hadid’s last designs before her untimely passing in 2016. The Tower’s breathtaking twist mid-way is a work of true architectural genius.
Underpinned by a commitment to art, design and innovation, Mercury Towers has curated the perfect collection of places to shop: from a luxury multi-brand store to lifestyle fashion and global designers. Through a selection of international and specially created restaurants, bistros and cafes, Mercury Towers is set to become a new food and drink destination. A very diverse and varied culinary offer responds to today’s discerning palates. Entertainment at Mercury Towers reigns supreme: from thrilling new experiences to wholesome family fun, there is something for everyone at Mercury Towers.
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