The Society For Experiential Graphic Design has its annual xLab conference on even as I type this, but I’m back at HQ and missing the event (but not missing flying out of NYC on a Friday evening … ugh).
I did, however, take in a pre-conference event while still in the city Thursday afternoon – a 90-minute tour and talk with Alexandre Simionescu, one of the co-founders of Montreal-based Float4, an experiential visuals agency. The event was held in the Tribeca street-level LED Lab run by display vendor IC Technologies.
That lab, by the way, is a clever (though no doubt expensive) showroom for the broad spectrum of LED solutions, from low-rez LED curtains to a big 1.9 mm direct view LED wall. It’s right in the city, highly visible from the street, and two blocks from the Canal Street subway. In other words, easy for brands and architects to come down and visit.
Simionescu was JUST off a plane from Dubai, having spent the last four weeks with his team getting the final bits together for the multimedia install Float4 drove and delivered at the Meraas City Walk – a very high-end outdoor mall in Dubai. It’s one of the most ambitious digital installs on the planet, and Simionescu walked the small tour crowd through some of what was done.
The retail/residential project is the size of 12 football fields, and much of it is bathed in snychronized LED and projection light.
It has more than 30 LED installations in 21 different formats and nearly 30 high-res projectors, totaling over 80,000,000 pixels. Float4 even found itself designing and working with engineers to build a water fountain show with fountains that rise from the pond and enable projects on the showering water and mist.
There are 2,260 “diagrid” LED pods in the curvy overhead canopy and the big, wraparound LED walls use 10mm pixel pitch LEDs.
“For our team, it was an opportunity to demonstrate our know-how through a hugely ambitious project – even by Dubai standards,” says Simionescu.
There are 14 racks of media servers, with piles of redundancy, and a team of five people who run and maintain the visual experience over a pair of shifts. Most of the visual experience is running off Coolux software, though it also ties in with a separate element running off Four Winds.
The content, at the moment, is pre-determined and render art pieces, but the capability and planning is in place to do “generative” art pieces that use real-time servers and build the look based on data.
Pretty amazing place and project. I didn’t even ask how much. But think $$$$$$$.
Here’s the short Float4 video:
Here’s a video just posted from a local with a good camera and steady hand:
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 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, on Canada’s east coast.