A coworker of mine passed the work of Mr. Beam along today as an example of some innovative work being done with light and projection in 3D architectural environments.
After watching a few of their pieces, I was really impressed with the Dutch outfit. I remember seeing some amazing architectural light-art the last time I was in Belgium, and am familiar with the work of Jenny Holzer from my time at RISD, but their work brings it to another level -- introducing a sense of dynamic augmented reality.
In "Living Room," (video, above) Mr. Beam "created an unique physical 3D video mapping experience by turning a white living room into a spacious 360° projection area." The resulting effect is a room that's entire character and physical appearance changes in the blink of an eye. Visually stunning, but what's technically most impressive? They did it using only two projectors.
Much of their other work is on a larger scale -- splashing entire buildings in detailed, film-based light shows. Their work for H&M reminded me particularly of some of the technology sequences in Children of Men, a film I've found to be one of the most realistic (albeit depressing) depictions of future technology in recent years. Though the specific depictions in Children of Men (above compared with Mr. Beam's work for H&M) were focusing on screen/billboard technology, the experiences are very similar, capturing viewers in an uncanny valley of light and image -- light years away from what we thought was possible with simple projectors.
Willem Van Lancker is a product designer (UX) at Google with a passion for ethnography, maps, data visualization, and producing delightful user experiences.
Willem came to Google from IDEO where he worked as a communication designer focusing on understanding business systems and organizations through visual communication. Previous to IDEO, Willem worked for Apple, where he designed user interfaces for products including iPhone and iPad, and adidas, where he created new brand identities for various major league sports teams respectively.
Willem is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with a degree in Graphic Design. While at RISD, Willem teamed with a small group of Brown and RISD students to create A Better World by Design, a now-annual three-day conference encouraging social and environmental impact within educational policy. He also served as a researcher and core member for RISDâ€™s Strategic Plan, charting a new course for RISDâ€™s academic programs and student life initiatives focused on how students of different disciplines can innovate through collaboration.
When he is not working on new innovations for Google, Willem can be found writing, sailing, playing squash (both the sport and the gourd), following English (and American) football, and occasionally regretting the decision to eat that bacon-wrapped hotdog from a food-cart in the Mission District.