Float4, an award-winning turnkey immersive media studio based in Montréal, designed, produced and delivered a new multimedia visitor experience at One World Observatory, located atop One World Trade Center in New York, NY.
According to CEO Alexandre Simionescu, “This project is, at its core, a celebration of New York and New Yorkers, and we focused the narrative on lower Manhattan because of its fundamental role in New York City’s rich history. As a narrative backdrop, the theme of travel is weaved throughout the four unique digital interventions: the Global Welcome center, the Portal Wall, the Horizon Grid and the Reﬂection screen.”
Powered by RealMotion technology, the Global Welcome Center introduces guests to an interactive data-driven visual installation on a high resolution LED display of monumental proportions. Meant to create a sentiment of arrival and awe, the content relies on a live data feed from the ticketing system to greet each visitor in their language of origin. Additionally, live data is also used to alter the duration of the content in order to accommodate different levels of visitor throughput. Using motion sensors, the real time visuals also react to guests as they approach the display.
“The Welcome Wall displays and celebrates the starting points of each visitor’s journey; it sets the tone,” said Simionescu. “It’s also customizable for VIPs or special events. We can actually display customized messages that are triggered by a speciﬁc ticket being scanned.”
The Reﬂection Screen gives visitors a bird’s eye view of One World Trade Center on a faceted custom-built projection screen using stylized 3D content.
The Horizon Grid, a digital mosaic composed of over 140 LCD displays, presents a brief history of lower Manhattan through a thoughtfully animated visual journey. Using historical footage combined with 3D animations, motion graphics and a custom soundtrack, this journey through time introduces a series of events and locations that can be seen from the observatory.
The Portal Wall presents a contemporary view of the World Trade Center Plaza, including some future developments such as 5 World Trade Center and the Perlman Center for the Arts.
Due to the travel restrictions between Canada and the United States, most of Float4’s work was accomplished almost exclusively from remote locations.
“This project started at the onset of the pandemic and we had to adjust our creative approach swiftly. Doing creative reviews entirely in telepresence was a signiﬁcant challenge. That’s why VR and game engines became immensely useful to perform the pre-visualizations we would have otherwise done in person,” said Simionescu. “With team members in multiple locations across Canada and the United States, we had to engineer a workﬂow that allowed collaboration on the terabyte-sized pieces of content.”