Seeds of colors
Breating new life to NYC Galeria Melissa
The NYC Galeria Melissa is adding a bit more color to the urban landscape this summer.
The famous Brazilian brand is teaming up with award-winning EPFL+ECAL Lab from Switzerland to breath new life into the space originally designed by Edson Matsuo in Manhattan: In the cave situated below the ground floor of the gallery, flying colored seeds react to the movement of visitors feet. The seeds then germinate into undulating green, blue, yellow and violet reeds of grass, with brightly colored clouds floating overhead to complete the delicate world of joyful movement – connecting the three strata of earth, plant and sky, like the rainbow. From the tips of your toes up to your brain and beyond, the project is an immersive experience that augments the joy of finding the best fit for the feet.
As the gallery visitor reaches the bottom of the cave, each step attracts colored seeds, turning them into traces that rise to the earth’s surface to become swaying colorful reeds of grass. In this way the movement of the visitor generates a new inhabitable space, creating a magical, dream-like interactive virtual landscape projected onto the wall of the showroom.
The creation is an EPFL+ECAL Lab project from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – a lab exploring new technologies through design. Part of the larger “Gimme More” augmented reality program, which has already been awarded the International Design Festival Berlin Prize, the project is the result of research lead by Designer Thomas Eberwein in collaboration with Engineer Daniel Tamburrino.
“We are going beyond the ambition of creating an artistic installation in a showroom: we have transformed the space in order to connect it to Melissa’s creative universe and embody a dynamic interactivity where each one of the visitors’ steps becomes a source of joy colonizing an ever-evolving landscape,” says Nicolas Henchoz, director of EPFL+ECAL Lab.
Like the other augmented reality work shown in the “Gimme More” program, this project calls upon new technologies to enrich the physical world with digital content, evoking values and narratives in real-time by connecting body detection software with video mapping.
Softlab, already a partner for the large EPFL+ECAL Lab exposition “Gimme More” shown at Eyebeam NYC in February, has brought the physical scenography to the project. Softlab completed the landscape with the creation of the colored clouds and the large, undulating grass reeds. The colors tie together the earth and the sky, like the current rainbow motif in the Galeria Melissa – the chromatic scheme is inspired by the shoe creation Melissa Ultragirl, designed especially for this summer’s Melissa Rainbow Collection at the showroom.