Marathon Oil Uses Fine Pitch LED Sculpture As Visual Feature In New HQ Lobby

November 3, 2021 by Dave Haynes

Houston-based energy firm Marathon Oil’s new headquarters has fine-pitch LED in the building lobby, but it is not the sort of vast video wall that’s increasingly common as a design feature. Instead, it’s a much smaller, but active sculpture.

The design firm Sensory Interactive worked with SNA Displays on a pair of flag-like LED monoliths that run dynamic content.

Says SNA:

Despite totaling only 40 square feet of display canvas, the pixel density (1.25mm) is such that the pair of quadrilateral screens are packed with 2.4 million pixels.

According to Sensory Interactive, the digital display blends art and advanced motion capture technology that responds to visitors as they move through the space. The art piece, whose form draws inspiration from crystal shapes found in geology, passively relays foot traffic data, allowing screen content to adjust dynamically. However, users can also actively interact with the piece through gesture tracking to explore Marathon Oil’s history, learn about staff, and view a changing catalogue of content types such as branded content, ambient/artistic content, and community content.

Custom fabricator CRĒO Industrial Arts designed and built the sculpture according to Sensory Interactive’s design concept.

The geode-inspired structure is clad in non-reflective aluminum with a marble stone veneer and was built to appear as a monolith, a single unit with no apparent joints. Furthermore, the lattice-like frame appears different to viewers when observed from various angles. For example, the screens appear to be on the same spot along the z-axis when viewed straight on, but moving to the side reveals that they are offset. The forced perspective change encourages visitors to contemplate the piece from various vantage points.

“Motion sensing and data driven visualization features were integrated into a suite of services, so that the sculpture could react to ambient foot traffic in such a grand space,” said Andrew Yee, senior associate of project management for Sensory Interactive. “In order to get the optimum results for the client, we used highly customized control systems that aren’t typical in corporate spaces.”   

Digital signage software development company Sedna provided media management devices used to control interactivity elements of the sculpture. 

The lobby installation is part of a growing trend in corporate spaces and the arts, highlighting the appeal of physical sculptures with a digital visual element. “More and more, we’re finding that prospective clients are implementing designs that incorporate LED technology and include brilliant visuals, real-time data, or interactivity; sometimes, all of the above,” says Jason Helton, EVP for SNA Displays. “Particularly with digital sculptures, customers are finding lots of value in being able to entertain and even inspire visitors with technology that fits within their existing design or branding.”

Not sure what I think about this one. It’s definitely interesting and different, and might be the product of limited available space or budget (though it’s an oil company, so … ). Or maybe the Marathon folks just wanted a digital sculpture. I do like how the two digital components visually become one if you are looking at it from a certain perspective.

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