Airport rental car centers tend to be big, bland concrete blocks that are anything but visual treats, but the new one at San Diego International Airport is a decided departure – with the exterior animated by some 2,100 E Ink Prism tiles.
The public artwork, just launched, turns the 1,500-foot long front of the parking garage into a landmark mural. Called DAZZLE, the art installation is a nod to the “razzle dazzle” camouflage technique used during World War I in the waters off San Diego, to alter the perception of ships to the enemy by visually scrambling their shapes and outlines. It was a widely used technique by the British and US navies during the Great War, not exclusive to San Diego.
“Our artist approach for DAZZLE was inspired by the historic form of ship camouflage, but our breakthrough came with the idea of applying e-Paper technology to the façade. We knew that E Ink technology was the perfect partner to help us achieve our design, given its flexible and extremely durable properties,” says Nik Hafermaas, co-founder of Ueberall International and principal project artist. “We’ve worked with E Ink on a number of projects so we’re thrilled to reveal the largest deployment of E Ink Prism in the world.”
The physical components of DAZZLE include e-Paper tiles, wireless transmitters and a host computer. The e-Paper tiles are designed in a parallelogram shape and arranged in algorithmic distances to create an overall dynamic visual effect, even when the pixels are still. Each tile is integrated with a solar cell for power, electronics for operation and wireless communication to create each unique animation developed by the artists. The animations can evoke water ripples, moving traffic, dancing snowflakes or shifting geometries.
“This is the first large-scale deployment of E Ink’s Prism technology that will be accessible to the public view. It’s a testament to the unique value Prism creates in architectural design, enabling designers to create eco-friendly, durable and visually exciting designs that transform buildings and structures,” says Paul Apen, Chief Strategy Officer at E Ink. “DAZZLE is the perfect example of how E Ink’s Prism can deliver a completely new and dynamic one-of-a-kind experience, transforming a once static space into something dynamic and spectacular.”
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.