This has the makings of something really special.
The revitalized Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at LAX opens next month with a series of enhancements that will make the technical side of travel better, but also add to the experience of passing through the crazy-busy airline terminal.
The terminal will be filled with big, intriguing digital display arrangements and custom content that is more reminiscent of an art gallery of 5-star hotel than a passenger terminal.
The centerpiece is a 72-foot high interactive surface – using an elevator hoistway tower – that responds to the movements of people passing by and is meant to be like the iconic clock towers you see in old European rail stations.
Several companies have been involved in pulling the project together, reports Sparksheet:
MRA International created a first-of-its-kind Integrated Environmental Media System (IEMS) that uses sensor technologies and real-time data to create digitized and interactive architectural elements. It’s a far cry from rows of flat screen monitors playing loops of local news and weather updates.
Sardi Design and Fentress Architects collaborated on the content and building design along with Moment Factory, the new media and entertainment studio behind Madonna’s latest world tour and the Super Bowl XLVI’s halftime show.
The terminal’s newly constructed Great Hall, where passengers will mingle at luxury boutiques and restaurants before heading to their gates, is the site of the seven architectural structures outfitted with the IEMS.
The columns are synchronized with flight information, displaying images that correspond with outgoing flights. Image via Moment Factory.
Ten 28-foot columns display ambient scenes of worldwide destinations on LCD monitors that synchronize with departing flights. A 120-foot Story Board suspended from the curved ceiling welcomes passengers into the Great Hall with cinematic shots of the Los Angeles area and other destination cities, which Moment Factory describes as “ambient narrative.”
“It’s really about bringing people together and making a really engaging public space,” explains Moment Factory founder Sakchin Bessette. The goal of the content, he says, is to blend the useful with the beautiful.
“You can just stand there and watch something with someone beside you, and then move on and use the information,” says Bessette.
But it’s not just about creating an enriching experience for weary travelers; MRA has designed the IEMS to function as a revenue stream so that the platform is funded by private, as opposed to public dollars. The firm is calling it “the first sponsorship program at a U.S. airport.”
Moment Factory produced the “foundation content” for the IEMS (unbranded videos, including cinematic shots of destinations) as well as a media platform through which specially created branded content will be displayed once the terminal opens later this year.
But for Bessette, it all comes back to keeping people enamoured with air travel.
“The journey starts at the airport,” he says. “You don’t need to have arrived at the destination to start enjoying the journey and start dreaming.”
The overall project cost $2 billion, so the 19,000 square feet of video screens and the cost of four hours of very nice, very expensive video would have been just another line item in the budget for this effort.
It looks amazing, and it speaks yet again to my ongoing argument that most of the best work being done in this thing we all call digital signage is by companies that are not part of the ecosystem, and probably don’t care about stupid crap like what this industry calls itself. They had an engagement to redefine the passenger terminal experience with media, and off they went.
In this case, the creative owes to the team at Montreal’s Moment Factory. It looks brilliant – and has that Quebecois sensibility about color and visuals I don’t see often in this space (except from fellow Montrealers Arsenal Media). Wow. Wow. Wow.
Now I need to find a reason to fly to LA.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.