Responses by GMUNK, user experience director, Tool of North America
Background: We wanted to create a powerful and artful sculpture that could live as an evergreen platform in the lobby of DoorDash’s new San Francisco headquarters. This sculptural LED wall is powered by a robust CMS that is populated with photos and videos from the brand, and it leverages DoorDash in abstract and painterly ways, creating map-based visualizations that infuse the office with the life and dynamism of the DoorDash platform itself. We created an easy-to-use admin tool, similar to a Spotify playlist, so that the DoorDash admin can program a schedule that cycles through various modes and color palettes that match the time of day and desired ambience of the office space.
Reasoning: For the design of the platform, we wanted to create something highly detailed, polished and fresh with a foundation in design thinking and execution. We knew a screen platform was desired, so we pushed for a multi-planar experience with precision and refined material selection. We wanted every aspect of the content to be generative, meaning that no two moments in the schedule would ever be the same. From how the mosaic grid was populated with photos to the library of color palettes, the key with the content was variety—to always be surprised and discover something new.
Challenges: The installation was challenging due to strict building access, and also the integration during a complete lobby remodel. Everything else was smooth and delightful due to a great client and wonderful collaborators.
Favorite details: The polished design of the platform and the variety of modes and aesthetics built into the content program. Tons of thought and meticulous processes went into both components of the project and it shows in the final result.
Visual influences: For this execution, we were inspired by grid-based graphic design and the principles of a mosaic-based sculptural platform. We relied on the audience to piece together images broken up in the grid, as we intentionally presented the photos, video and visualizations in a more experimental fashion. This approach will lead to higher audience engagement and a fresher way to present relevant amounts of content.
Anything new: We learned to have a full grasp on the ambient lighting states surrounding the platform. We were designing and building this platform in the context of a much larger build out that included the entire DoorDash headquarters. As is inevitable in a large construction project, certain details, such as placement of lighting fixtures and how they cast light into the space, were not known until the end of the project. We were also met with some interesting surprises in the lobby lighting that affected the color calibration of the screens. So, having everybody involved fully vet that aspect of the project before jumping in is paramount.
Alternative approach: We would have performed a more thorough ambient light study, accounting for lighting variation throughout the day.