In late 1999, Wiesbaden-based design bureau 3deluxe approached MESO Digital Interiors with an idea in their upcoming project Visionscape at Expo 2000 in Hannover.
The initial briefing outlined an area where visitors would be allowed to design their own futuristic clothes in an unexpectedly easy and creative way.
People at world exhibitions tend to be overly hurried, and organizers measure the time allowed for each visitor on each exhibit in minutes, if not seconds. So to make the game work in this context, the time for a novice visitor to become an expert and be able to experience a feeling of creativity needs to be extremely short.
Traditional techniques – based on simply choosing options from a selection – limit the creative feel of the user and suffer from the problems of undecisive visitors. On the other side, techniques based on visitors abilities of expression by drawing or painting have the problem that some visitors results may be of questionable artistic quality. Also, 3deluxe called for a very designed and futuristic look.
MESO Digital Interiors solved that problem by proposing a system consisting of a special video camera and a caleidoscopic image post processor.
With this setup, visitors are able to scan in the visual surrounding and apply them as a fabric pattern onto one of several pre-defined garments. As “source material” they can use a board of various color/pattern themes to sample from, but are also encouraged to scan in other objects in the environment (the clothes they are wearing, faces of friends, logos, etc.)
An animated preview of the caleidoscoped input allows the visitors to immediately check their design and intuitively find the perfect camera position. Every user gets to play for a predefined amount of time. Approaching “game over”, the camera
begins to beep a countdown. Now the visitor has the opportunity to print out his design. When pressing the print button, a pdf document containg the exact pattern of the garment is calculated and automatically sent to one of the two printers.
The fashionscape-software was based on an early version of the vvvv video synthesis toolkit with custom modules for generating real-time kaleidoscopic images of live video input and printable pdf-files from cutting templates.
MTV show “hot” featured a one-week special on the Expo 2000. For some interviews and shots in the scape pavilion, MESO provided a system based on some core functionality of the fashionscape software: MTV VJane Ina Géraldine was live processed and caleidoscoped which provided some really bizarre coverage on the exhibition.
Another task in 3deluxe´s concept of the lounge was developing a fashion magazine to provide more background material on the fashion scape lounge. This magazine was also created and designed by MESO. The pages were projected by hidden slide projectors. Visitors got white sheets of plastic to catch the projected images while sitting in one of the lounge’s comfy chairs. Thus, the magazine could be read like a normal newspaper, just by holding the white sheets in the air.
Sebastian Oschatz, Max Wolf, Sebastian Gregor, Christopher Fellehner, Christoph Blum, Heike Selmer. Audio design by Karl Kliem.