Client: Microsoft / AEG
Location: Los Angeles, CA, United States
Completion date: 2017
Volvox Labs’ [VVOX] expertise in creating robust interactive digital experiences and integrating them into physical environments sparked the Microsoft, Lifestyle and Marketing team. It was important to create something surprising and attractive while being advanced and offering subtle hints to brand. Microsoft wanted to harness their most popular technology and use VVOX's past work and combine them with real-world social experiences in a custom built, new media environment. The aesthetic desired was contemporary mixed with old-world charm. As a part of the revamp of the Microsoft Theather, VVOX proposed and created 4 permanent art installations for the gallery lounge.
The goal was to showcase their technology and create something surprising beyond the traditional confines of the workplace. Early phone conversations between VVOX and one of the executives at Microsoft started to materialize toward the concept of creating a sensor-driven, responsive environment. It was important to keep the branding subtle while creating a tangible space evoking a sense of surprise and wonder. A robotic, kinetic wall powered by Microsoft technology quickly became the obvious route, but having it become a permanent solution and digitally interactive was something the team had never executed before.
The “Lounge” begins with an entrance area where attendees embark upon Momentum, a robotic sculpture controlled by a Surface tablet and spans a 30ft x 9ft-long footprint. Inspired by the Microsoft logo, it is made up of 80 actuators, 160 custom milled wooden tiles, and 10 micro-controllers. Momentum moves when it senses human motion. The eye-catching LED-lit wooden facade illuminates with wave-like movement.
The team also designed a vivid, 45-foot-wide, 9-ft-high projection mapped wall. The wall served several purposes: to display content, use motion and depth for interaction, and to display triggered animation sequences. Sensors were placed in the lounge so that when a visitor's motion is tracked past certain points the system would cue specific animated sequences.
Additional custom brand media experiences were created for event ambiance.
Timeline of from concept to delivery was 14 wks. All work was done in Brooklyn, NY and shipped to Los Angeles, Ca.
The Microsoft Gallery Lounge is an authentic user experience showcasing the evolution of a new media “event” venue. The physical element paired with interactive digital media effectively created a bespoke, permanent brand activation space. Attendees descend down escalators and are greeted with a brightly lit robotic sculpture. As they traverse the lounge they see their movements interacting and affecting light and visuals. The result was an overwhelming success because it was hybrid of design, digital media, interaction and art installation in the built environment, while also giving participants a special, sharable opportunity with Microsoft technology.