Flocks of birds fly in mesmerizing patterns and giant trees sway inside of 900 North Michigan Shops, the Magnificent Mile destination made even more stunning by a major renovation unveiled in November.
The centerpiece of the makeover is a massive, 190-foot-long digital art installation spanning the ceiling of the seven-level shopping and lifestyle center on Chicago’s Gold Coast. 900 North Michigan Shops enlisted New York City-based experience design studio ESI Design to transform the nearly 30-year-old complex into a 21st-century attraction for Chicago residents, shoppers, diners and tourists.
Visible from all floors, and built in 10 sections, the digital installation mimics a giant skylight that connects the complex’s interior to the exterior sky. The ultra-high definition LED canvas features evocative content filmed at a 16K resolution with state-of-the-art cameras, making the illusion of rustling trees and the sky above seem hyper-real.
In another mode, the ceiling opens to reveal flocks of 3-D-animated birds. Created by algorithmic rules based on flocking behaviors, the birds will never fly the same way twice. The background sky and sunlight also adapt to the current time of day. When not creating the illusion of an outdoor space, the ceiling serves as a vivid showcase for branded content, seasonal content, products, promotions, and special events. Its media program uses pre-rendered video and animation, software generated animation and dynamic media templates that can be easily customized.
“The digital canopy allows us to introduce art into an atypical environment that will pleasantly surprise our guests,” said Stacy Kolios, senior director of marketing for 900 North Michigan Shops. “The installation will also serve as a medium through which we plan to showcase the great ideas of artists working in the digital design space both in Chicago and throughout the world.”
“The new design that includes a digital canopy is unlike anything that’s ever been installed in a mall environment—a stunning centerpiece of a comprehensive renovation that reimagines the visitor experience and puts the tenants front and center at 900 North Michigan Shops,” said Edwin Schlossberg, President and Principal Designer at ESI Design.