Creating a different lobby every day with mapping

“Everything starts with the idea of a space in constant evolution: same architecture, same installation but with different animations to create a space that transforms throughout the hours” 

Three times a day, seven days a week, the white marble atrium of the ME London hotel in London's bustling West End metamorphoses with projection mapping. A stunning 33 m high pyramid, the lobby is the ideal backdrop for a series of evocative designs by Blow Factory. The Paris-based studio worked with legendary architects Norman Foster & Partners and ME by Meliá to develop the artistic and technical solutions for the impressive lobby.

The 3D mapping narrative in the atrium, played back with Dataton WATCHOUT, is a permanent installation consisting of a portfolio of mapped shows with specially designed audio. Taking their cue from nature, the elements, physical and geometrical forms, the daily projections explore themes of the universe and creation with each weekday having its own “personality”. Jellyfish float upwards, geometric patterns trick the eye, a space landscape wraps around the visitor – every day, a different lobby.

“Our aim was to create a unique space, across the technological innovations and the originality of the contents. A lobby in movement,” explains Paula Guastella, Blow Factory. “We used mapping technologies to dress the walls in this unusual space. By projecting, painting with images and animations, the possibilities are infinite.”

The mapping installation has been in operation seven days a week since the hotel opened in 2011. Besides developing and designing the content, BlowFactory, is responsible for system integration, mapping calibration and maintenance of the mapping experience. Temporary exhibitions by guest projection artists are also shown in the atrium.

“We created 3D mapping content as a permanent installation and a guest launch system controlled by a touch tablet, which means every day of the week has a different background that can be played. Three times per day, a mapping show, with specially designed audio, is projected to create a unique experience,” says Paula Guastella. “We chose Dataton WATCHOUT as the main playback system, using the mapping and blending facilities to make the complete canvas. We also use the multi time-lines features to create alternate playbacks for different content. The Epson projectors run on their own time-line, switching on and off in accordance to timers built into the projects.”

For everyday control, Blow Factory deployed Showcaller software running on an iPad which draws the data from the WATCHOUT session via the WO remote app. This allows the operator to trigger the main timeline, alternative times and ‘tweens’ without the use of a production computer. Even guests can launch the mapping show easily.

The mapping at the ME London is one of many hotel art installations by Blow Factory. Over the last ten years, the multi-talented team of designers, architects, vjs, sound designers, programmers and animators have created sculptures and video mapping in Milan, Mallorca, Ibiza, Los Cabos, Miami, Barcelona and developing Dubai and Qatar. The company has its roots in Barcelona but is now based in Paris.

“We love to experiment with a broad array of digital art techniques, which is why we design mappings, interactive projects and physical installations from their very conception to their implementation. Our aim is to provide a complete experience, consolidating artists, festival, brands, events and spaces with new media developments. We work in varying contexts, from hotels, concept stores and restaurants to festivals and clubs while also creating branding experiences.”

Enjoy more Blow Factory projection art here.


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