Digital Art Installation Transforms Margaritaville Las Vegas

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Client: Margaritaville

Location: Las Vegas, NV, United States

Completion date: 2021

Project Team

Project Management

Joe Ginel, David Crabtree, Sherry Young, Jason Tremper, Jeff Evans

Margaritaville

Hardware Installers - projectors, displays, surround sound

Dana Broadaway & Dan Boos

AVIT

Creative Content Design & Creation

Lauren Millar & Mark Stasiuk

Fusion CI Studios

Overview

Transforming Margaritaville Vegas with a Digital Art Installation achieved significant technological & artistic breakthrus. A/V integration co, AVIT, approached Fusion to design a Margaritaville story on several display screens using digital visual effects. Margaritaville Las Vegas is filled with tropical paradise kitsch – a delightful & specific brand experience – a huge fiber-glass volcano, a giant LED clad blender, & several projection & LED screens are scattered thru-out & Fusion’s challenge was to create a cohesive, integrated, experiential Margaritaville story, embracing the disparate surfaces, using Jimmy Buffet’s 3 classic songs-Volcano, Fins & Margaritaville-as the installation’s audio foundation.
After extensive consultation with AVIT & Margaritaville Fusion devised a creative plan that would embrace Margaritaville’s brand & culture, while creating an immersive, unforgettable 3-dimensional experience for restaurant guests – an erupting volcano with sparks, steam & lava for the Volcano song, an underwater paradise, symbolically narrating Fins & a tropical Island Paradise for Buffet’s Margaritaville song, complete with flip-flop flowers, margarita-glass-growing trees & animated parrots (the lost shaker of salt thieves!)

Goals

A challenging goal for our digital art & design studio was to create a unified look on several different surfaces (LED & Projection) and surround restaurant guests in an entertaining, wondrous experience that embodied the Margaritaville brand. Jimmy Buffet fans, known as parrotheads, have very specific expectations that must be fulfilled to achieve a gratifying experience.
Also a consideration was the project’s budget, which motivated us to get both technically & artistically creative in telling the brand’s story. For the song Fins, for example, our digital Mermaid, sharks, fish, and corals were created in silhouette to manage costs, but also to add a dramatic, symbolic look for the song lyrics. The result was a win creatively, technically and economically.
To achieve the 'show' or 'spectacle' goal, we displayed a Jimmy Buffet concert on the large projection screens around the restaurant. This would give the parrotheads a feeling of being immersed in a Buffet concert while the spectacle of an active volcano, a living reef, and a tropical paradise played out on the volcano's surface & inside the giant blender.

Process

The collaboration process among Fusion, AVIT & Margaritaville was one of the best experiences we've had as a digital art & design studio. Our clients loved our creative proposal of the 3 scenes to accompany Buffet's 3 songs for the show spectacle and they inspired us with their brand details that resulted in us dreaming up story details like creating a margarita glass-growing tree, flip-flop flowers, and salt-shaker stealing parrots to create a thrilling brand experience with digital art.
Fusion routinely shares works-in-progress with our clients, and in digital art that can sometimes be a daunting experience as the building blocks in the process can look more like code than art. But through detailed, consistent communication and trust, the process was highly successful with our clients being overjoyed at being part of the creative story-telling process. That allowed our clients to 'own' their project, watching their ideas come to life in the installation.
AVIT focused on the hardware installation - projectors, screens, audio systems. We spoke weekly to share details of what each of our teams were creating. Consistent, frequent communication with our hardware partners made this installation a great success.

Additional Information

1-The volcano was laser-scanned, then remodeled by hand to get a digital vers'n accurate to within a 1/4". With the 3D model, we designed a layout of 9 industrial 4K laser projectors to cover every square inch of the volcano surface with seamlessly-blended projected imagery. 2-Every single 3D ‘asset’ (image) for the volcano scenes & the cylindrical blender - from fumarole steam & lava to palm trees & flowers swaying in the breeze - had to loop seamlessly (looping had to be visually undetectable). Without the seamless looping, the simulation & rendering requirements would not have been impossible in the timeframe & budget. 3-Total show length is 16,323 fr! - HD (blender LED display) 8K (volcano projection). In the digital visual effects art world, that volume of 3D scene creation is exceptional. Typical fluid simulations for movies are 200-300 frames, so this installation sets a whole new, very high bar. 4-For the 7700 fr Margaritaville song, the team designed, created & hand-placed thousands of digital plants to densely cover the volcano. If you look closely, you'll see palms, bananas, breadfruit, sugar cane, flame swords, flamingo lily & flip-flop flowers looping seamlessly!