When Esquire brought its annual "Esquire Apartment" to Brooklyn for the first time in the event's nine-year history, it sought talent that could create memorable experiences in each of the eight rooms in the famous DUMBO ClockTower's penthouse. Enter the ultimate experts in creating unique physical experiences: HUSH. The studio teamed up with long-time collaborator and architect Marc Thorpe of Third Eye Studios to bring the spirit of sponsor Acura to life in a unique interactive table that acts as an enormous and elegant musical instrument.
HUSH and Thorpe worked closely with Acura to invigorate the table and the room - which they dubbed the Office of the Future - with the auto company's core qualities of technology, innovation, and acoustics. Topped by a tactile Lycra fabric touch surface and powered by infrared sensors, your touch of the table generates Acura sounds - sonic branding from its navigation system - turning the table into a musical instrument with its own nuances and acoustic details. The touches also manipulate the behavior of real-time visualizations which symbolize Acura's distribution of energy to all four wheels.
"This is an awesome room, with the perfect blend of interaction and information," noted HUSH Partner Erik Karasyk. "Acura gave us carte blanche to do something cool and interesting in this space, and we came up with a way to translate their core brand concepts. This table maximizes the visual, physical and acoustic experience. Driving a car is about what you see, what you hear, and what you touch, and we've recreated a parallel experience with this beautiful table."
An infrared camera hidden at the table's base looks upward, reading the position and depth of each person's touch into the Lycra surface and conveys that information to the software, where it is translated into visual energy patterns and a mix of sounds. HUSH designed the real-time animation, based on the flow of energy through an Acura powertrain, using the open-source software Cinder, which allows for, among other things, the creation of generative animation.
"It's rare that you get the chance to mix projection, generative code, beautifully crafted product design, and delicate acoustics in one project, for a top-notch brand," said HUSH Partner David Schwarz. "It's thrilling to work with a group of professionals here at HUSH that can produce a total design project, with control of materials, lighting, and physical space."
Throughout the project, HUSH sought the delicate balance between an artistic brand experience and a "hard sell." "When you're preparing a display for the high-end, intellectual clientele that fill Esquire's guest lists, you have to deftly combine subtlety and innovation to pull them in," stated Karasyk.
HUSH is among impressive company on the Esquire Apartment project. Also designing rooms were Shelley Starr for Hugo Boss (Great Room) and for Don Julio (Tequila Bar), Campion Platt for Ermenegildo Zegna (Master Bedroom), Denise Kuriger for ASICS (Home Gym), Luxurious Animals and Poltrona Frau Group for Lufthansa (Digital Loft), SFA Designs for Conrad Hotels & Resorts (Rooftop Terrace), and Brooks Atwood of POD Design+Media (Esquire Bar).
The Esquire project also follows HUSH-created interactive installations for Nokia, an immersive experience featuring a massive, motion-sensitive digital wall at the University of Dayton, and a life-size interactive touch-screen content for Toyota Prius at the Detroit, New York and LA Auto Shows.
Even with a string of hugely successful installations behind them, HUSH is not letting up. They are currently at work on a massive, 3000-squre-foot interactive experience at December's World Petroleum Congress in Doha, Qatar.
And they may not be finished with the table concept yet. The studio sees the concept of a light-and-sound-emitting table as adaptable to everything from medical trade shows to auto dealerships. "This form is a great magnet for any sort of brand," stated Schwarz. "It allows people to experience a brand in a unique way: it's collaborative and playful, and easy to digest. With changes to the content, sound design, lighting and media, we'd have a great platform for a variety of brands who seek compelling, multi-person experiences."
Custom Infrared illuminators and camera sensor
Table made out of Corian
Ribbonlyte LED lighting
DMX controller linked to computer
Production/Design Studio: HUSH
Architecture Studio: Third Eye Studios, Marc Thorpe
About HUSH:HUSH is a creative studio crafting visual stories for digital, experiential and broadcast media. Whether with the latest technology or the most classic of techniques, we unify stories for agencies and brands alike.
Design. Story. United.
McCann Worldgroup, Jack Morton Worldwide, Momentum Worldwide, Mindshare Entertainment, George P. Johnson, Grey, BBH, Sapient, space150, Central Planning, 160 Over 90, among others.
Nike, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Microsoft, Zune, HP, Coca-Cola, Honda, Hyundai, Acura, Kiehl's, E*TRADE, Random House, Dove, Stylecaster, MTV, Syfy, Discovery, HBO, PBS, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Starz, among others.