Westfield San Francisco Transforms Historic Glass Dome Into Digital Surround Theater

May 9, 2013

The Westfield Centre’s transformed dome now features seasonal “Under the Dome” shows that utilize digital projection mapping to project videos to the 11,781-square-feet canvas.

Obscura transformed the interior of the Westfield San Francisco Centre’s iconic 1908 glass dome into a state-of-the-art, 360-degree surround theater that showcases a series of shows. Obscura wrapped, morphed and masked architectural details and created a dynamic video display system projected onto an irregularly shaped canvas, larger than any IMAX screen.

Nominating Company: Obscura Digital, San Francisco
Venue: Westfield San Francisco Centre, San Francisco
Project: Digital Dome Theater
Category: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation

] Obscura Digital morphed Westfield San Francisco’s glass dome into a canvas for digitally projected shows.
BACKGROUND
Westfield aimed to attract consumers to the top floor of the San Francisco Centre by transforming the interior of the glass dome into a state-of-the-art, 360-degree surround theater exhibiting the latest in projection mapping technology. The dome features a series of seasonal shows designed to encourage shoppers to return for a different dazzling show each season while browsing and eating at their Restaurant Collection Under the Dome.

Obscura designs original content and musical scores and compositions for each show. The theater experience premiered with the Illuminique Under the Dome winter holiday show last November, followed by Corazon Under the Dome this summer. Illuminique Under the Dome featured a large-scale mechanical music box with animatronic toys and instruments that came to life with the Holiday Spirit. Corazon Under the Dome is a celebration of the heart of San Francisco, and is a dazzling visual and musical journey through 150 years of San Francisco history.

] Obscura Digital morphed Westfield San Francisco’s glass dome into a canvas for digitally projected shows.
CHALLENGES
The main challenges Obscura faced was completing the digital installation while also maintaining the integrity of the historic architecture and accentuating the intricate details of the iconic glass and steel Emporium dome, designed by renowned architect Albert Pissis. 102 feet in diameter, the three-story structure weighs 500,000 pounds and features more than 800 crown and lunette windows and 900 lights.

] Obscura Digital morphed Westfield San Francisco’s glass dome into a canvas for digitally projected shows.
SOLUTIONS
Customized Obscura Digital hardware and software were combined to wrap, morph and mask the architectural detail. Using nine projectors and Obscura’s FireFrame playback server, imagery was projected to fit pixel-perfectly onto an irregularly shaped canvas with a surface area of 11,781 square feet, bigger than the world’s largest IMAX screen (at 10,930 square feet), according to the company.

] Obscura Digital morphed Westfield San Francisco’s glass dome into a canvas for digitally projected shows.
RESULTS
The general manager of the Westfield San Francisco Centre stated that Illuminique Under the Dome was an enchanting masterpiece that will return as a holiday tradition at the center. The seasonal “Under the Dome” shows – which are open to the public for free – have significantly increased consumer traffic to the top floor shops and restaurants.

The Westfield San Francisco Centre won the DSE 2013 Gold Apex Award in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation category.

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