3 Types of Digital Art Installations For Your Office Lobby

Posted March 6, 2019

ESI Design’s Head of Media Environments, Emily Webster, recently wrote for Commercial Property Executive discussing how digital installation art in an office lobby can help lure new tenants and engage employees and visitors:

In 1937, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. commissioned Josep Maria Sert to paint a 16,000-square-foot mural in the lobby of 30 Rockefeller Center. Titled American Progress, the masterpiece set a new standard for how 20th-century corporations would use artwork in their lobbies to not just impress and awe visitors and employees but to define their power and influence in the world.

Fast forward 80 years to a new world where the lobbies of office properties are undergoing a stunning transformation that would make it almost unrecognizable to yesterday’s titans of business.

The days of static oil paintings and motionless sculptures that can signal permanence and rigidity are fading into the past … and for good reason. People spend most of their lives at work and walking by the same artwork every day quickly becomes routine. Even the greatest masterpiece can dissolve into wallpaper after repeated viewings.

Now imagine if the artwork in the lobby or outdoor plaza changes as you pass by. Or if a sculpture transformed before your very eyes based on real-time data. Or if a different, entirely original digital mural welcomed you each morning driven by an advanced algorithm. Suddenly the office becomes a place of small delights and surprises, creating a fresh and evolving workplace. Fortunately, sweeping advances in display and software technologies are making it possible for commercial real estate developers, leasers, and investors to create dynamic, interactive art installations that draw tenants and engage their employees and visitors.

But the benefits do not end there. Workplaces that make the most of dynamic art are not only more interesting for prospective tenants―they help tenants attract and retain talent. In fact, a 2017 Capital One survey found that a majority of Millennial professionals highly desire artwork and creative imagery in their workplace. Even better, a 2017 study at South Korea’s Honkgik University revealed that seeing works of art, and briefly reflecting upon it, enhances employees’ creative capabilities.

So what type of digital artwork is right for your office property?

Terrell Place Reactive Media Wall

Responsive Artwork

Artwork that subtly and elegantly responds to tenants and visitors as they pass by is a surefire way to ensure that the daily journey from the street to the desk offers moments of charm and unpredictability.

In the lobby of Beacon Capital Partners-owned The Crossroads in San Mateo, California, a deer may run away or a bear may pause and lift its head as you enter. Powered by a customized version of Unreal Engine, the video game software behind hits like Fortnite that renders 3D simulations with uncannily accurate physics, the lobby features reactive-media panoramas in the style of vintage California travel posters that evolve constantly, responding to the presence of visitors, time of day and live weather data.

Across the country in Washington, D.C.’s Beacon-owned Terrell Place, a similar experience unfolds but with a uniquely Washingtonian twist. As employees pass by a 1,700-square-foot mural in the lobby, the capital’s iconic cherry trees bud, bloom and blossom in time with the seasons until eventually their petals drop off. Depending on the time of year, when people pause in front of the awe-inspiring displays, butterflies emerge and flutter or icicles grow on tree branches. A hurried walk past the digital art installation may even cause a snow-covered branch to shake and fall. The result is an ongoing opportunity to discover new layers of details in the art, with many employees coming to enjoy figuring out how the installation responds and evolves.

Reactive art can also be used to bring a brand to life in striking and unexpected ways. For Nespresso, artist Daniel Rozin created a large circular sculpture with 832 motor-powered tiles decorated with recycled aluminum coffee pod lids that react when a person walks by. While Rozin’s piece was commissioned for a pop-up boutique, inspired sculptures like this could find a permanent home in office properties.

Artwork Powered by Data

Visualizing data related to your company is a smart and effective way to create compelling artwork that creates an emotional connection with your company’s mission. Translating real-time numbers into art means that it will also be constantly changing and refreshing, offering observers a chance to engage with it in new ways….

Read more in Commercial Property Executive >>

Emily Webster

Emily is an award-winning designer focused on media architecture and immersive environments. Working with world-class clients and design teams on experiential projects, she sets the creative direction and leads the conceptual development process. Emily is responsible for iconic NYC landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty Museum and the digital activation at Laguardia Airport’s Terminal C. Her unique cross-market expertise ranges from retail, cultural and technology clients, to healthcare, corporate and commercial projects. She is innovation-focused, leveraging the panorama of interactive technologies to help clients tell their story by creating engaging, immersive, and meaningful experiences. A sought-after thought leader, Emily has presented at high-profile conferences such as Fast Company’s Innovation Festival, NYC X Design Festival, and WORKTECH, and her insights have been featured in media outlets including Business Insider and WWD.

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