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Bluman Associates designs ‘Crafted Light’ illusion for Harrods display

Duncan Proctor 6 November 2015
HArrods - Bluman

The Hennessy cognac brand has curated content with MPC Creative and Bluman Associates for a visual content window display at Harrods in London to tell the story of the brand.

The technical expertise of Bluman Associates were utilised to produce the display titled ‘Crafted Light’, which celebrates the brand’s 250th anniversary.

MPC Creative invited Bluman Associates to assist with the technical design and feasibility for the display. Operating within the parameters of the interior designer Tom Dixon’s ‘copper claw’ and the technical requirements to make such an illusion possible, Bluman commissioned Artem to complete the mechanical fabrication and technically produced the concept through to completion.

The installation is an evolution of the optical illusion technique known as ‘Persistence of Vision’, which originated with Victorian-era optical illusions like zoetropes and thaumotropes. Updated for the digital age, this piece further evolves the screen-based ‘Full Turn’ concept designed by student Benjamin Muzzin for the conclusion of his ECAL/University of Art and Design diploma project. The installation blends discreet, simple imagery into a single image in the mind’s eye to give the illusion of smooth motion. Two 23in IPS screens are fixed together back to back and spun at a speed of close to 90Km/h. The speed at which the screens rotate is such that specific visuals on them appear as 3D to the naked eye.

An additional 3D twist has been added to create animations visible in 360°, with palpable volume and depth. The image on the screens appears to float in space through the holographic effect of the spinning screens.

Framed within a copper claw housing designed by Tom Dixon, the team built a bespoke support structure, with a reinforced central axis designed to withstand the centrifugal forces caused by the two screens spinning at over 900rpm. When rotating, the simple line and particle visuals displayed on the screen appear to merge, creating animated shapes and abstract forms, including Hennessy’s X.O bottles, flowing liquid and ice via the persistence of light forms. The rotation velocity conceals the shape of the screens, leaving a floating hologram of the unique motion graphics in 360°.

A unique built-in media player and control system handles the intermittent stopping of the screens and powerful electro magnets position the screens flush to the framing. The automated stopping and starting of the screens, timed with the playing of the motion graphics, reveals the optical illusion.

Executive producer Dan Phillips from MPC Creative said: “Bluman Associates were our first choice as partner for this project. The brief to create something spectacular for Hennessy to showcase in a prized window at Harrods led us to develop a range of challenging installation ideas, all with significant technical and engineering demands attached. The Crafted Light installation demanded precise construction, advanced engineering savvy, and tailored media solutions to allow the motion graphics pieces to be the star of the show. The team from Bluman Associates were always on hand to guide the creative possibilities, guarantee the operation of the technology and mechanics, and ensure that the installation was as show stopping as we and the client desired.”

Pod Bluman from Bluman Associates added: “It’s an exciting project to be involved in and always a pleasure to work with the visionary team at MPC Creative, together we crafted something very unique. It was a challenge, but we enjoy taking risks and took it upon ourselves to complete the research, source the best suppliers and iron out any risks to ensure we delivered.”

Bluman Associates

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