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Interactive Annual 20:

A Window into the Near Future

Launch Movie

“So simple and yet such an evocative way of showing our future dreams, desires and imaginings. That’s the way AR should be done.”
—Ana Serrano

“So excellent to see electric cars on the streets of the city. Brilliant! Makes me want to drive these concept cars right off of the window.”
—Kris Kiger

Overview: It’s been more than 30 years since American auto and oil industries preempted the original promise of electric cars, and BMW was eager to show New Yorkers that the future of mobility has finally arrived. To build awareness and create anticipation for the new, all-electric BMW i series, BMW transformed a street-level window’s reflection of live traffic on 6th Avenue into an idealistic vision of a world populated by (mostly) electric cars. Four creative agencies collaborated over seven months to design and build the installation, which used digital projection and motion-detection technology to swap BMW i3 and i8 vehicles for the actual cars in the window’s reflection, giving passersby an exhilarating glimpse into the near future.”

  • • More than 250,000 original lines of code were written to determine numerous critical variables (vehicle behavior, positioning, size, color) needed to create a realistic illusion.
  • • To replicate the view from across the street, all stationary background elements were detected and updated every 30 minutes to match the sunlight for the time of day, the color of leaves on the trees and inclement weather such as snow and rain.
  • • Three cameras were live for 22 hours a day, with maintenance taking place in the middle of the night. A team worked around the clock to ensure that the two 80,000-lumen projectors and software were functioning properly.

Comments by Marc Hartzman:

How did this project compare to others you’ve worked on in the past? “From a technology standpoint, this project was greater in scope than other projects—primarily due to the environmental aspects. We had to create an application that could present a ‘learned background’ (to ensure the time of day and weather seen in the window matched reality) and would work seamlessly with live traffic.”

Did you meet with any unexpected obstacles? “Hurricane Sandy struck just weeks before launch. With the shutdown of mass transportation, we had technical producers running and biking five miles from Brooklyn to work on-site.”


Olena Shmahalo, art director
Diego Rioja, interactive designer
Kevin Keehn/Cesar Rubin, associate creative directors
Marc Hartzman, group creative director
Michael Craven/DJ Pierce, executive creative directors
Ed Brojerdi/Izzy DeBellis, chief creative officers
Jake Lee-High, interactive developer
Mike Dory, technology director
Jed McClure, interaction director
Chris Gsell/Matt Powell/Matt Richard/Vikram Tank, interactive technical directors
Kevin Osgood, director of photography
Dennis Hanley/Deirdre McMurray, executive producers
Nick Meyer, executive agency producer
Virginia Kornfeld/Mara Milicevic, integrated production directors
John McClafferty, retoucher
The Armoury, production company
Fresh Air Flicks, production service company
Spies & Assassins, project design and development
kbs+ (New York, NY), ad agency
Joan Bowen, BMW North America, client

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