Assistant Playgrounds
Years: 2019 and 2018
Client: Google Assistant

2019 Google CES Playground

On The Go  Experience

Attendees stepped up to individual booths to activate the diorama by completing queries

2018 Google CES Playground

Connected Devices Room came to life by attendees saying designated queries

Attendees stepped into One Million Capabilities to test various Google Assistant Capabilities 

Overview “Hey Google, let’s make a debut at CES
and why not throw in a ride?” Ambitious interactive installations were created for
CES 2018 and 2019 at Google Assistant Playground.
Zone Design lead
Art Direction
UX Design

2019 Impact
  • 13,581 attendees experience the ride
  • 3+ awards received
  • 945,000+ YouTube views of the ride
  • 80,000+ impressions

2018 Impact
  • 41,500 impressions
  • 20,000 engagements
  • 1,600 visitors (level 2)
  • 25 mins average dwell time
  • 8.6 million impressions
  • 331,000 video views
  • 100+ winning PR headlines

Context & ChallengeIn 2018, Google Assistant made their first debut at CES. They wanted to make sure they were making a huge splash and make known that Google Assistant as THE voice assistant in the space. For both years, I was involved with various installations showcasing its capabilities. 

Because the Assistant relied on voice interface, our basic challenge was the problem of sound proofing the activations. We were also limited in customizing the interactivity due to the lack of SDK/API availability. 

It took a village to both playgrounds to be realized. We collaborated with four other agencies each taking sections of the playground to complete the projects.

Key Target Users
CES is the place to drop the news and make a huge splash that will ripple for the entire year. It’s the mecca for Consumer Electronics to debut and announce new features. Out of 175,000+ attendees, Industry attendees account for 57%, Exhibitor Personnel account for 38%, Media account for 3.6%. 

It generates 
5,000+ tweets an hour during CES
1.2 M+ views of CES Instagram stories
It is covered by the media:
Print 8,800+
Online 197,000+
Broadcast 20,000+ 


On The GoA twenty feet long interactive diorama was constructed to show case twenty five queries that can be said while you are On The Go. Seven mobile devices were installed along the diorama each with three queries. The user stepped on to the mobile device, said the query and saw the diorama come to life.

A mini Las Vegas diorama illustrates how queries connect to kinetic interactions which highlight how Assistant helps users On the Go. Reminiscent of a carnival midway, attendees interact with Assistant via Google Pixels available in one of seven “stalls.” Attendees ask queries such as, “Hey Google, what are the rates at MGM tonight?” and the MGM hotel lights up. Or, “Hey Google, what does a flight cost to Las Vegas?” and a small airplane flies across the diorama.

The ProcessTwenty five queries that are utilized while a user is out and about were selected. Each of the querries were assigned an iconic depiction with a simple animation. We illustrated these “scenes” and identified the interactive parts. Some required additional motion design while the others required lights and motors. The vector illustrations were translated to laser cut pieces to be installed on site.

Hero queries and their actions were initially brainstormed in a sheet. Only the strongest experience was selected to be included in the final set. Twenty five queries were finalized from the list.

Illustrations that symbolize the queries were created and arranged together to fit within the given space. Each booth had three to four queries the attendees can experience.

The diorama scenes were separated into three layers to fit them all within the viewer’s line of sight within their booths. Mechanical electronics that would power the reaction to the query were highlisted and listed for the fabricators to build. 

Installing the diorama on site


Connected DevicesA single query -- “Is it going to rain today?” ends with baking delicious chocolate chip cookies. Activate a beautiful mechanical sculpture by joining in with a family that uses the Google Assistant to save the day. 

The ProcessI collaborated with copywriters from Los York to come up with a script for the narrative of a grandma visiting her family and baking cookies together. I placed the required Assistant enabled devices along with various interactive objects on the walls by illustrating them. 

My role was to design the three walls that told the story. All the devices were laid down along with the narrative that was developing. The challenge of the project was to create a beautiful and stunning chain reaction of devices and accent behaviors while the list of devices and the narrative was constantly changing.

A selected list of products that have Google Assistant integrated were laid out on the wall. The objects followed the script from walls A to C. Each items were labeled with the action that’d take in sequence once the query has been commanded. 

One Million Capabilities Google Assistant is more than just queries -- it’s about capabilities. And the list of capabilities is growing ever longer because partners are constantly building new devices and services that use Google Assistant. To showcase Assistant’s Capabilities, we created an infinity mirror room to represent its limitless potential. Inside the room, we placed 24 phonebooths all themed to relate to the capability.
The ProcessI collaborated with the capabilities product manager to track down a list of all the capabilities. We then came up with unique experiences and queries that could be said inside the phone booths. Customized capabilities were also created- like the Karaoke capability- where users can sing along a karaoke YouTube video.

Like On The Go experience, a list of capabilities were chosen to brainstorm on. Only the strongest 16 experiences made the final selection to move forward.

Visuals and props were designed for the experiences from the list. Some experiences required custom UI and custom apps were created for the Assistant device utilizing their SDK.

An example of a very simple UX/UI inside “Tiny Gym” booth where attendees were able to play a workout mix and start exercising.

“Tiny Karaoke” booth experience allowed the attendees to select a song to sing inside the booth. Custom Karaoke videos were created and uploaded on YouTube for the Assistant to be able to pull from. 

Registration + Host AppsThe experiences listed above were reserved for the VIP list. In order to have a smooth show time, we had to create an app that tracked the run time of the show and the ability to trigger content to troubleshoot the experience.

The ProcessWe learned that a registration app will be needed while we were briefed on the host app. We thought it’d be a great idea if the app can handle both functions.

The registration app had functions to add guests and edit their groups. A user could create multiple groups depending on the availability of time slots. The host app had functions of checking in the guests. Once the host started the tour, the entire experience was timed. The host app was essentially utilized as a remote controller for the experiences.

The upstairs experience was a VIP only experience. Googlers needed a place to invite and register their guests. The app was used to add, remove, and edit the guests appointments to the experience even on site.

The guided tour of the experience was controlled by an app. Hosts were able to check in guests via QR codes on their badges.

The host app was also used to manual trigger effects on the walls if a bug occured. Individual devices were linked to the app so that all the effects could be controlled. The pedestals where the attendees spoke to were able to be triggered as well.

When the attendees entered the One Million Capabilities room, an ambient background music played to signal the attendees to roam around and explore. The host app showed a countdown so the host can keep track of the time. The host controlled the music and the lights to signal that the tour was completed.


“The work and engineering that went into this — and the quality of what they built for something that’ll only be here for a few days — is seriously absurd.”

“It was fun and it's the most impressive booth experience I've ever seen at any trade show.”

AICP Next Experiential Winner 2019

Ex Winner
Client: Google
Campaign: The Google Assistant Playground
Category: Best B-to-B Environment

Gold Winner
Client: Google
Campaign: The Google Assistant Playground
Category: Best Trade Show Experience

Ex Award Winner

Client: Google
Campaign: Hey Google @ CES
Category: Best Trade Show Experience

ReflectionGoogle Assistant Playground represent the highlight of experiential design for me. The ultimate manifestation of immersive branding was carried out. Things won’t be the same post COVID and I’m curious how a company like Google would prepare for a big launch like this in the future.

Full Team
Visual Design: Bryan Park
Technologist: Justin Lui
Agencies: Los York, Deep Local, VT Pro, Nexus Studios