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Alive, Martin Professional HQ, Aarhus, Denmark

Issue 64 Dec / Jan 2011/2 : Architecture : Media Façade

Lighting Design: KOLLISION

Martin Professional’s HQ in Aarhus, Denmark has been given a facelift from dynamic designers Kollision.

Martin Professional’s headquarters in Aarhus, Denmark, has taken on a life of its own thanks to a new media façade made up of Martin LED display panels with graphical content from designers Kollision.
The 180sqm façade, mounted on the inside front of the building, is made up of Martin Professional LC Plus Series LED display panels and presents a wide variety of dynamic graphical content that reacts to visitor interaction in the form of activities and movement in and outside the building.

Kollision is a Danish design office specialising in dynamic lighting design and communicative tools to provide users with new and engaging experiences. The two companies had previously cooperated on a unique reactive ceiling of colour and light at the Saxo Bank headquarters in Hellerup, Denmark (mondo*arc issue 63). The dynamic graphics do more than mesmerise and entertain; the media facade can be affected by motion sensors and user input for a truly unique, personal experience allowing a static building to come alive through an ever-changing lighting design.

This unique interplay between building and visitor is a powerful form of branding that Kollision has termed ‘Enhanced Brand Ambience’, a powerful communicative tool that innovative companies can use to great effect.

The branding is developed in close dialogue with the participating company on the basis of the architecture, the surroundings and the daily use and flow in and around the media architecture that Kollision work with.

Rune Nielsen of Kollision states, “As our buildings become increasingly expressive through dynamic, interactive facades they can begin to create their own unique personality. An LED wall becomes the means by which a building - and thus a company - can communicate values and qualities, as well as information, a unique form of branding that is personal and memorable.

“By combining LED panels with different kinds of sensors and input devices, we create a reactive and interactive facade, which creates a strong link between the context, the building, the brand and the visitor.

“In the case of Alive - and as seen in the different designs - we let the outside of the building effect on the inside or the inside on the outside, e.g. by using sensor technology to ‘read’ behavior, values, movement etc. that in more or less subtle ways are expressed on the screen as moving leaves when people enter the main entrance; a distorting pulse of geometry throughout the panels when you move between the two screen elements; playful or more serious statements or a smiling face from the iPad use; or moving plants when a car or bicycle pass the building.”

Christian Engsted, Martin Professional CEO, added, “Martin Professional lighting, video, and control, as well as long term service solutions, form the best possible foundation for a successful creative visual solution. Combined with the innovative talents of a visionary design firm like Kollision, the result is both cutting edge and effectual, something that contemporary businesses can use to form connections with customers in a whole new way.”

Kollision developed the custom graphics software engine that runs the setup via a dedicated computer. The software generates real-time animation in multiple combined and blended layers of real-time graphics, movies and pictures and outputs it to the screen panels. The software reacts on inputs from movement sensors in the building that triggers designs and effects  when people enter the building or if a car passes by the facade.

The media facade features four reactive and interactive designs developed by Kollision:

Reactive Shadows: In a visualisation of a passing sun, high contrast shadows from the building itself are cast onto the screen together with dynamic leaves, snowflakes and growing plants that react via sensors to passing vehicles and visitors entering the building.

Distortion: Large geometric patterns that create the illusion that the surface and shape of the building is changing as visitors approach the screen.

Kollision also developed ‘appLive’, an app for the iPad, that allows visitors to interact with the two last designs.

Mosaic: The iPad allows visitors to have their picture taken and automatically showed in a large-scale dynamic mosaic of pictures taken over time. The human mosaic is a new kind of urban social media that can be used as a digital guestbook showing faces and expressions from the most recent visitors.

Word Play: As an analogy to the refrigerator magnetic poetry game the iPad gives visitors the ability to play with words on the touch screen and construct sentences. The user can choose between Danish and English and sort and shuffle the words. When you choose to submit your sentence it appears as particles of light that float across the media facade and slowly gather into the visitor’s message. As a last and more pragmatic feature the app gives the user access to a simple playlist functionality that displays the complete list of Alive’s contents for participants to choose from along with an indication of the currently playing content. Visitors use their finger to scroll through the list and tap the image of the content they wish to see played on the facade.


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