Responses by Bluecadet
Background: The purpose of this project was to provide a new digital marquee for the Lits Building (formerly the Lit Brothers Department Store), an historic 800,000 square feet building in Philadelphia’s Market East District. It was an opportunity to define and program a new space in the public realm. Working with AV&C, we wanted to use dynamic elements to engage passersby and entice them into the building’s atrium with a welcoming mix of content.
Reasoning: We designed the entryway to seamlessly incorporate three digital screens. They display a library of content that is designed to play in any order and can be programmatically adapted for special events, holidays and change of seasons. This content features historical imagery, abstractions of architectural ornaments, seasonal displays and original artwork commissioned specially for this project. It’s a combination of old and new that highlights the building’s history and integrates 21st century technology, art and architecture to create a new sense of place.
Challenges: Appropriately using technology to enrich a historic place, while preserving the building’s architectural integrity. We believe it’s essential to build on an institution’s past to plan for its future. We’re inspired by the creative challenges of artfully weaving new technologies and experiences into historic fabric. We’ve learned to do the research, understand the context and think critically about how to apply the lessons from that context to our work.
Favorite details: Integrating technology into a historic facade and being able to brand the building as Lits, using the historic logo as part of the marquee.
Visual influences: We wanted to create something that felt appropriate historically and presently, so we tried using well-known spots and imagery with a modern twist. We were inspired by trompe l’oeil, so we worked to integrate moments where it looks like a nondigital soffit of a marquee and then transitioned into something special like a night sky.
Specific demands: The biggest demand was to create an elegant way of bridging technology and the building. Our ability to do so in a sensitive way earned us approval from the historic review committee.
Anything new: This project provided us with a new perspective on how to deliver interesting content in a way that feels appropriate. We were able to work with local artists and commission them to create something that blends the influence of mural arts and a popular Philly destination in a new way.