Welcoming visitors with artistic light
Medialab-Prado, a nonprofit program of the Madrid City Council's Department of Arts, encourages young people to produce, study, and disseminate digital culture at the interface of art, science, technology, and society. To create an outdoor public art display that would get people talking, Medialab-Prado commissioned the LED Action Façade, an interactive media wall for installation in the Plaza de las Letras, a busy city square. The organization chose Color Kinetics to help create an experience that would not just spark interest in its cause, but that would literally stop people in the street.
Langarita Navarro Architects came up with the concept and design for the façade, which they would build in the Plaza de las Letras to rejuvenate the public square and previously lackluster surrounding district. In addition to awing onlookers, the architects hoped to facilitate a dialogue between visitors and residents by creating a venue to profile Medialab-Prado's research in art, public spaces, and new technology.
The team at Langarita Navarro Architects decided on Color Kinetics based on its reputation for providing world-class, highly-versatile LED lighting solutions. The architects needed adaptable direct-view luminaires that would transform the façade into a dynamic, low-resolution digital screen perfect for artistic transmission. They specified 536 strands of iColor Flex SLX (now specificed with Flex Compact gen3, RGB) for the task, stringing them across the 94 rectangular panels that comprise the wall. The 50-node strands were installed across the 14.5 m (48 ft) wide by 9.4 m (30 ft) high digital façade to achieve a pixel pitch of 76 mm (3 in) on-center in both the horizontal and vertical dimensions, for an overall resolution of 192 x 125 lines.
The LED Action Façade is the new highlight of the now-bustling city. Medialab-Prado frequently hosts public contests and invites local artists to contribute to the façade, which pulls in tourists and visitors of all kinds. Residents are returning to the once undesirable neighborhood, and rents are on the rise. "The LED Action Façade is an infrastructure designed as an interactive medium," Victor Navarro and Maria Langarita, two of the project's architects, said. "It's capable of promoting social responsibility, civil participation, information transmission, social interaction, and leisure experiences."