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Innovative LED Video Wall from Scharff Weisberg Sparks Reopening of Chanel’s Soho Boutique for NY Fashion Week



The reopening of the newly-renovated Chanel boutique in Soho coincided with Fall Fashion Week 2010, and KCD called upon Scharff Weisberg to provide a huge LED video wall and an interactive Graffiti Wall celebrating both events and the boutique’s participation in “Fashion’s Night Out,” the second annual after-hours shopping event for the public.

To mark the festivities, KCD designed a tented outdoor event space showcasing the innovative media technology. A ten-foot high LED video wall spanned 90 feet of the boutique’s façade on Wooster Street and 50 feet on Spring Street. The Graffiti Wall, which used an interactive application consisted of a 23-foot wide expanse of video projection screen, onto which guests sprayed colorful digital video graffiti from elegant Chanel-branded cans. The media content was managed by Tali Krakowsky of LA-based Apologue Studios and developed by Alex Beim of Tangible Interaction

The festivities were kicked off on Thursday, September 9 with a gala party and grand opening attended by many fashion world celebrities and continued day and night through Sunday evening.

“Chanel is always very modernist and progressive and looks to challenge with cutting-edge art and technology,” notes Keith Baptista, Senior Vice President, Production for KCD. “We didn’t want to interfere with what was done inside the boutique which is very white and crisp. So we went very black and white outside in contrast. We wanted to attract the public’s attention with video elements showing the architecture of Soho and the Lower East Side and New York urban moments and engage them on an interactive level by inviting them to spray digital graffiti.

“We love Scharff Weisberg because they’re always up for a challenge, and we definitely challenge them all the time,” says Baptista. “Josh Weisberg never says ‘no’ and always comes up with solutions.”

Scharff Weisberg teamed with Baptista and colleague Tobi Armstrong for two months leading up to the event to design an outdoor LED video display with a central high-resolution core that fanned out in progressively lower-resolution segments. In this way the content, based on photographs by Chanel global creative director Karl Lagerfeld who is also a renowned fine-art photographer, was visually deconstructed as the image extended to the outer edges of the LED installation.

The central high-resolution core, measuring 10 feet tall and 23 feet wide, was comprised of 40 Barco Olite10 LED tiles. Fanning out from the two edges of the center section were columns made from Barco MiStrips, each of which was mounted to a custom-fabricated steel chassis. A total of 380 MiStrips were incorporated into the design. The LED walls were driven by a UVA D3 media server through a Barco DX-700 LED processor.

Scharff Weisberg also designed and engineered the folded-path projection system for the interactive graffiti wall, which was based on Barco RLM-R6 projectors.

All systems were installed over the course of two nights and three days, with forklifts competing with trucks and taxicabs for street space.

“It’s not easy to build something like this in Soho, and it’s never easy to introduce technology into new and challenging arenas,” says Baptista. “Josh Weisberg and Lars Pedersen really made a personal time investment in this project and followed through to the last minute of installation.”

Max Hill was the production manager for KCD. United Visual Arts in the UK was
the media developer. Creative Engineering was the scenic fabricator and Event Star the tent fabricator.

At Scharff Weisberg principal Josh Weisberg handled the engineering, 3D modeling and design for the project, Lars Pedersen was the account executive and Paul Clements the project manager/installation supervisor. Rich Montenegro and Jamie Davis were the LED engineers and Carlo Saravia and Michael Johnson the projection technicians.

Scharff Weisberg and Video Applications are collaborating partners to clients requiring unique and imaginative solutions for their event, spectacle and large-meeting lighting, sound and video needs whether local, national or worldwide. For more information visit www.scharffweisberg.com or www.videoapps.com.

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