CityWalk, Dubai is a luxurious outdoor retail environment. With an aggregate canvas of more than 1 00,000,000 pixels of digital content across over 30 display areas, including large-format and custom-built LED, architectural projection mapping and water projection, the digital experience is meticulously integrated into the architecture to create an unmatched destination.
As Executive Producers, Float4 handled program strategy, content creation and technology infrastructure design for City Walk. We appointed XYZ to deliver the technological solution and FLY and Gridspace to produce the content. The project took a little more than a year to complete from discovery to delivery. City Walk is considered a destination in and of itself for visitors and locals alike as it provides a lifestyle concept accessible to all. The goal was to create durable immersive experiences in a one of a kind luxury retail environment in Dubai. For the client, the goal was to create and produce visually striking content, harmonize the use of the multimedia infrastructure across a spectrum of requirements including revenue generation for advertising sales, architectural integration and entertainment purposes. We developed a comprehensive scalable technology solution that is robust, cost effective and future-proof. We helped develop business models for the ongoing expansion of content inventories.
One of the biggest challenges from a content creation and production standpoint was the multitude of platforms (LED, projection mapping, water projection, custom LED ceiling, lighting, etc.). With more than 100,000,000 pixels across 30 different media supports, our production pipeline had to be streamlined beyond anything we had encountered until now. The creative process was also a challenge by the sheer size of the space and the multitude of viewing points. It becomes very hard to convey an idea effectively when there are so many unique elements in play. Without the proper tools, it becomes a cognitive overload and you simply can’t process the information effectively in order to make good decisions. From a technical perspective, the amount of pixels that had to be processed required a performance criteria that is often delivered at the expense of flexibility, which in our case, was not an option.
The technical aspect, as rational as it is, required a lot of creativity. A key element in the design involved the use of a common denominator for the head end system to provide interchangeable systems in case of failure and to distribute the workload. Thirty Coolux systems were used to provide this capability. The projectors in the fountain were also designed to retract so they would be invisible when not in use.
For the content, a custom-built production pipeline was designed to minimize bottlenecks. Because the site was only fully operational in the last weeks of the project, previsualization played a big role in helping teams make the right decisions. The use of VR increased this capability and was essential in our ability to make decisions early on. Developing a meticulous strategy was the foundation that defined the balance between advertising, ambient/entertainment content capsules and the overall customer journey.
As a new construction that was just recently completed and fully commissioned (October 28, 2016), the data is still being gathered. While the numbers cannot be disclosed, the advertising revenue alone is a significant return on investment, and the client is already considering upgrades and additional digital integrations in future projects. As the largest digital integration in the Middle East and quite possibly the world, CityWalk will become an attraction, even by Dubai’s standards!
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