Responses by Rare Volume
Background: Together with Gallagher & Associates, Rare Volume designed a permanent interactive exhibit for the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center that celebrates the city of New Orleans, while connecting global visitors to New Orleans’s past and present. The installation entices visitors to engage with content that sparks discovery and encourages exploration.
Reasoning: Upon entering the convention center, visitors will see the video wall, standing nearly fourteen feet high and stretching 28 feet wide. The upper half of the video wall is based on six themes: music, history, cuisine, architecture, Mardi Gras and resilience. This content rotates through the different themes, functioning as an introduction to New Orleans and the content that can be found within this interactive exhibit. Upon approaching the video wall, the bottom half responds to the visitors’ presence and splits into timeline events and two centerpieces about New Orleans: the Destination and the Dutch Morial family.
Challenges: Rare Volume was tasked to create an experience for one of the largest interactive video walls in North America. Our custom software bridges four graphics processing units in order to drive the wall at a resolution 42 times that of a 1080p high definition video. Approaching visitors are detected by overhead depth cameras, while the entire video wall is made interactive by using one massive, custom-built infrared touch frame.
Favorite details: Rare Volume created the design system using five elements: photography, type, color, textures and objects. For a vibrant look and feel, we drew inspiration from New Orleans’s rich history in the arts, culture and architecture. Each timeline event has multiple images scanned from black-and-white and sepia photography, old paintings, prints and modern day digital photos. By building an interactive collage for each event and mixing it with elaborate headlines, vibrant color palettes, subtle textures found in New Orleans’s landscape, and tangible elements such as botanicals, ornaments and maps, we made each event stand out on its own while maintaining a cohesive look. Just like the design system, we established a motion system inspired by the city, and complementary to the user experience and design.
Visual influences: The term collage comes from the French word coller, or to paste together. It is a style of visual creation where the artwork is made from an assembling of various forms, thus creating a new whole. A collage is a wonderful metaphor for New Orleans, as the city is a beautiful layering of various cultures, people, artistic movements, music and ideas that have come together in the past 300 years to become what is now one of the most influential cities in the United States.
Specific demands: A key task was to design a solution that would showcase all 175 timeline events in a unique fashion. By creating a set of templates with dynamic parameters, such as color and typography, we managed to design an efficient kit of visual parts that would mix and match to composite bespoke layouts for all of the 175 events.