Interactive kinetic installation

Unveiling the Cupra Ateca

Overview

To launch its new performance brand Cupra at the 88th International Geneva Motor Show, Seat wanted an outstanding installation that could convey values of high tech and style and catch visitors’ eye at the hugely busy event.
We worked with BlackBoard Berlin and our long-time partners at Leva to design and produce an interactive kinetic wall for our client’s booth, creating an innovative and engaging way to unveil the new Cupra Ateca.
In idle mode, the elements in the wall moved according to pre-programmed choreographies. When someone came closer, they opened up a personal “porthole” to unveil the interior of the booth and the car’s details.

The project
Turning an unveil into an experience

The mechanical complexity of a project with 139 motors and custom drivers was enhanced by the need to not only make the wall move, but to allow it to become “transparent” so it could unveil the car behind it. Motors and cables were hidden inside the frame.

The triangular kinetic elements were inspired by the construction lines in the Cupra logo. We used them to compose a pattern that matched the overall booth design and conveyed the brand’s elegant style, creating a user experience that directed visitors’ curiosity towards the car and engaged them with playful interaction.

Up to six people could interact and open portholes in the wall at the same time, which invited visitors to interact and collaborate to unveil the new car. A custom algorithm ensured the diameter of each porthole was inversely proportional to the number of people interacting, granting each person his or her own personal distinct opening.
When no one was interacting with the wall or when more than six people were present, the wall reverted to a set of pre-programmed choreographies designed to fully show its expressive potential, in sync with the content showcased on the adjacent video wall. From smooth ripple effects to strictly geometrical patterns, the wall brought the booth to life and became one of the most-talked-about attractions of the Motor Show.
The Process
Finding a solution for every constraint

Having only three months for the entire project, we developed a control software that included a full 3D simulator so we could program every animation, and test the patterns even before the installation was built. The overall system’s flexibility allowed for last-minute experiments, fine tuning and syncing with the animations on the adjacent LED wall.

Following our usual iterative process, we considered 3 possible mechanical solutions with our technical partner Leva. With a series of incremental iterations that allowed us to evaluate and test every design idea with them, they designed a double lever combination that meet the project’s requirements as well as the production company's technical constraints.
In this phase, a number of prototypes were produced and stress-tested in order to find the best materials and tolerances for each component of the system. To work at maximum precision, we used a variety of techniques, including 3D printing, injection molding and waterjet lasering on metal.
The simulator, built in Unity, was a precise reconstruction of the wall with all of its parts and mechanisms. Users were detected by 2 Kinect sensors, which synced with each other and sent users’ positions to the simulator.

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based in Turin, Italy

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