Waldorf Astoria Residences Miami
An elevated and innovative real estate sales experience
Technology: TouchDesigner, Electron, DMX, Orbbec Astra
Role: Lead Developer
In 2016, the real estate development firm PMG tasked Second Story with coming up with an interactive sales experience to help sell luxury condos in a one-of-a-kind, iconic residential building in the heart of Miami–the PMG team needed to sell at least 50% of the units before they could break ground on the building. The Second Story team designed and began development on a five-experience immersive journey meticulously mapped to a 20,000 sqft. sales center space to take buyers from the “outside in”--giving them a feel for what makes Miami unique, then the building itself, then each individual unit in the building. Unfortunately, this project went on pause a year later and the original team was not able to complete it.
Fast forward to 2021. Second Story was now Razorfish, and PMG came back to us to complete the project. The catch? They did not want to update the original resolutions chosen or hardware purchased for the project, nor did they want to replace any devices that broke during the six years the project was paused.
I was the lead engineer on this project for the Welcome to the Neighborhood (TouchDesigner, Electron, and a physical dial communicating via DMX) and City on the Rise experiences (TouchDesigner, Orbbec Astra).
Welcome to the Neighborhood consisted of a scale physical model of the city of Miami with animations projectection-mapped onto it. Using a physical dial, guests could select any of over 30 points of interest throughout the city, highlighting them on the scale model with projection and simultaneously pulling up more info in the Electron app on the connected displays above the model of the city. In addition, salespeople could select a tour mode, which played a video about the different aspects of Miami on the Electron app with synced projection animations created in Notch and positioned in TouchDesigner.
City on the Rise was a group of three unique sculptural wall elements. Each one boasted projection-mapped motion graphics with different facts about Miami. These animations were triggered by motion--detected by an Orbbec Astra camera and Second Story's proprietary person-detection software known as Sensor Control--located overhead.
My role was to build the Welcome to the Neighborhood (WTTN) TouchDesigner experience and receive data from the WTTN Electron app to trigger the animations on the scale model of Miami. The building architects had placed the WTTN projectors in the air ducts without consulting our team, so the projectors (and the projection) were constantly shifting slightly. In addition, the projector resolution was only 1080p, and because the scale of the physical model was not matched to our specifications for projection, we had to come up with some workarounds to hide the visible pixels, aliasing, and recurring misalignment in the projections. I worked closely with the creative team on the project to adjust, map, and position our animations in a way that was simple and effective and still looked good despite the physical limitations of the projectors and projector positioning.
I also created the mappings for the WTTN and City on the Rise (COTR) TouchDesigner projections to their respective 3D shapes, worked with Electrosonic to orient and set up the WTTN projectors for the highest resolution mapping we could create, given the limitations of our hardware, provisioned and set up the WTTN PC (in the server room) and COTR PCs (mounted in an alcove near their respective projectors), and supported all components of both experiences. Finally, the original COTR TouchDesigner file was built in an older version, so I updated this experience to the latest version and fixed any issues that resulted from the upgrade.
You can view the Razorfish case study video here: https://www.razorfish.com/work/waldorf-astoria-miami/