Feature Project: Interactive Geode-Inspired LED Lobby Sculpture

The digital display blends art and motion capture technology that responds to visitors as they move through the space

Marathon Oil, an independent exploration and production company in the energy sector, commissioned a digital showpiece for the lobby of its new headquarters in Houston, Texas. Owner-representative Sensory Interactive crafted the interactive digital media sculpture, which is built with LED technology from SNA Displays.

The two flag-like LED displays of the digital sculpture employ a tight 1.25mm pixel pitch, allowing for viewing at very close proximity. Despite totaling only 40 square feet of display canvas, the pixel density is such that the pair of quadrilateral screens contain 2.4 million pixels.

SNA-News-Marathon Oil-Launch-Photos-1
(Image courtesy SNA Displays)

According to Sensory Interactive, the digital display blends art and 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. However, users can also actively interact with the piece through gesture tracking to explore Marathon Oil’s history, learn about staff, and view a catalog 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.

According to tp the company, 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 is said to encourage visitors to contemplate the piece from various vantage points.

SNA-News-Marathon Oil-Launch-Photos-2
(Image courtesy SNA Displays)

“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,” says 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.

According to SNA, 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, executive vice president 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.”

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Marie Fennema

Marie Fennema is the managing editor of GRAPHICS PRO, including GRAPHICS PRO Today, covering news and guidance in apparel decoration, awards and engraving, and sign and digital printing.

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