The main strips of Las Vegas, Hong Kong, and Times Square are on the cutting-edge of illuminated media façades–emblazoned with hyper-animated, neon advertising. But there’s a parallel movement to harness the technology for stylistic use, that is, for visionary design on the facades of museums or other pubic buildings.
As Susanne Fritz describes on Architonic, the façade itself disappears, turning into one huge advertising medium for sending messages, whether artistic or commercial: “At the onset of dusk the building moves into the background and serves only as a backdrop for the light show which then becomes the main attraction. Media facades can evoke the most diverse emotions, from a big city feeling to annoyance at light pollution. They are also seen as tourist attractions, Pop Art or as eye sores.”
The “Crystal Mesh” facade of the Iluma Shopping Center in Singapore was designed by Berlin firm realities:united. The tessellated plastic, embedded with lamps, envelops the convex sides of the edifice. Brightly lit billboards are scattered across its flatter elevations.
Times Square is an example of a strictly advertorial use of “Mediatecture.”
A new technology, Aegis Hyposurface, is fabricated with metal plates that move and react in real-time to electronic input. The interactive media surface means that the movements of spectators are mirrored by the display and transferred in exact detail into expressive flowing movements rendered by the plates.
Jean Nouvel’s famous Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris is clad in a mechanical media surface made up of intricate lattice windows whose blinds have been attached to a mechanism that mimics the aperture of a camera, closing and opening in reaction to the sun’s intensity throughout the day.