Interactive Annual 18:
An innovative use of available technology to create an immersive, interactive tabletop environment.
A thoughtfully reimagined restaurant experience that is full of delight… from the blowing leaves to the playful woodcut painting games.
This interactive dining experience for a restaurant in Moscow is sophisticated, world class and fun. Additionally, thanks to a close collaboration with the restaurants architect, Moscows much-loved Alexander Brodsky, it feels Russian, not imported. Each seat has access to six essential features that include the food and beverage menu, a between-tables message-passing communication system, a group game and a watercolor feature. Prior to being seated, each guest is given a black, etched quarter-sized token to unlock the table, move between features and lock the table when dinner is served.
Development time was eighteen monthsincluding a few extra months for the restaurant to be completed.
Programmed in C++ the tables use PotionSense (Potions proprietary framework) for tracking hand movements and any static objects placed on the table.
All of the physical hardware is located in the glowing red lampshades above each table. This provides two benefits: spilled drinks and food are far from anything with a power cord and the guest dont feel like theyre eating on oversized iPads.
Comments by Jared Schiffman
Initially, we followed the lead of the architect, Alexander Brodsky, whose vision involved extending the raw spaces concrete surfaces to all of the furniture and fixtures. Based on this preliminary direction, we imagined a contest between Mother Nature and the abandoned industrial structures of post-Soviet Russia, played out on NOVIYs concrete dining tables: water drops on the concrete slowly cause fissures and cracks, from which tiny flowers eventually grow and the yellow- and orange-tinted leaves that blow across the table suggest the changing of seasons and the weathering effects of time.
One of many was that several of the tables, cast in solid concrete, were not built to the correct dimensions. Since they couldnt be recast, we had to adjust the interface on many of them at the last moment. Other challenges included working in English and Russian and ensuring that the interface worked even with plates, glasses and other items spread across the tables
The scale of it. The total installation used 40 projectors and just as many computers, custom mounts, sensors and power controllers. The entire process required a massive planning effort and six extended trips to Moscow. When everything came together just before the opening, it felt like a small miracle.
With every project, there is something new to learn, and it is never whats expected. At the start of the project, we were worried that our design wouldnt succeed with a Russian audiencethat the cultural divide would be too wide to bridge. On opening night, however, our concerns were assuaged; it was great to see that wonder is a universal emotion.
Caroline Oh/Sooyun Yun, graphic designers
Jared Schiffman/Phillip Tiongson, principals
Andrea Bradshaw/Josh Fisher/Thomas Gerhardt/Nikolas Psaroudakis, developers
Potion (New York, NY), project design and development