Client: Downtown Seattle Association
Location: Seattle, WA, United States
Completion date: 2020
Artwork budget: $25,000
Seattle Downtown Association
This festive Augmented Reality (AR) installation for the Downtown Seattle Association’s Holiday Lights and Delights festival, provided a fun, COVID-safe escape for family and friends from Thanksgiving through the New Year. The larger-than-life, audio-visual adventure was inspired by the holiday classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. Its claymation style provided a respite of nostalgic whimsey. Spread over five downtown parks and retail locations, visitors could use their own mobile phones to stroll through an AR Christmas tree forest, investigate a giant gingerbread cottage, and take photos with a Seattle Bumble and more.
The Downtown Seattle Association’s (DSA) annual holiday festival attracts thousands of people to the downtown retail core to play, shop and celebrate the season. The DSA was determined to maintain this important economic and community-building tradition in the face of COVID. Embracing both the challenges and opportunities, the event was redesigned to provide real and virtual lights and delights for families and friends to discover and enjoy on their own schedules, at safe social distances.
NOVABY was commissioned to create a family-friendly, destination-worthy, AR holiday adventure that would generate joy and attract visitors and shoppers. Five AR photo-ops and interactive installations were strategically placed in downtown parks and retail locations. Some retailers integrated the experience into their holiday sales promotions by rewarding customers for sharing their photo-ops on their social media. In keeping with the DSA’s community-building goals and AR’s unique sociability, the installation was more often experienced by three or more family members sharing a common phone.
NOVABY worked closely with the Downtown Seattle Association to brainstorm and create a family-friendly, destination-worthy, AR experience for their annual holiday festival. We conceptualized, designed and implemented the interactive adventure to fit within their artistic, budget and schedule criteria and provided flexible support services for the duration of the festival. Careful consideration was given to making sure the installation was culturally and physically accessible to as many visitors as possible. Working hand-in-hand with the event team, five downtown park and retail locations were strategically selected and adjusted to build on other festival features, maintain safe social distancing and encourage visitors to support their local retailers.
Designed with first-time users in mind, this app-based AR experience was easy to access and use. Visitors could download the app using the QR code on the signage, then point their phone camera at the fun holiday illustrations and the content appeared around them accompanied by holiday music - ready for interactive fun and photo-ops. Instructions and an experience map were also integrated into the signage and the app so users could access them whenever needed. On-site demonstrations are available upon request.