Dubbed the “ultimate selfie machine” since its opening in September 2017, the 14-foot-tall interactive digital sculpture resides in the renovated Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC). Bringing a truly unique experience to visitors, the sculpture named “As We Are” incorporates a 32-camera 3D photobooth within the LED head form and uses photogrammetry to map a photo of a visitor’s head onto the surface of the sculpture. As Project Manager, Engineer, Fabricator and Producer of this project, Design Communications Ltd. (DCL) was able to attract passersby from inside and outside the glass-walled lobby.
Nominating Company: DCL (Design Communications Ltd.), Avon, Massachusetts
Venue: “As We Are” Digital Sculpture, Columbus, Ohio
Project: “As We Are” Digital Sculpture
Category: Event Venues & Hospitality
Designer Matthew Mohr envisioned an interactive addition to the newly renovated convention center and strived to create an experience for self-reflection and to reflect the diversity of the local community. Being able to step into the sculpture, take a photo and have that photo 3D-mapped in real time onto the surface of the sculpture is a unique experience.
The sculpture harmonizes art, technology and the human experience. Weighing 7,000 pounds and comprised of more than 850,000 individual LEDs, the sculpture is built on a 24-layer frame of contouring custom LED modules. Inside, 32 synchronized cameras capture a person’s photograph, where custom software stitches the photos back together to display across the surface.
The development of “As We Are” spans the full gamut of integrated technologies, from structural engineering and fabrication to custom LEDs, software and cloud-computing services. For visitors, all of these come together for a seamless experience.
With an idea and a simple Photoshop rendering, Matthew Mohr came to Design Communications Ltd. (DCL) knowing that they could collaborate on developing this interactive project from the ‘neck’ up.
The amount of integrated technology mixed with the minute detail of recreating a human head out of LED and then shipping it from Boston to Columbus required expert engineering and coordination.
Beyond extensive testing, synchronization of 32 cameras to recreate one image file for the head was a challenge. Each camera had to be tuned independently to the correct portion of the 3D model.
The sculpture also requires that it is able to rotate – under its own power – to switch positions throughout the day. During the day, the sculpture faces into the lobby while it faces outside the glass façade at night. Considerable planning had to be taken to supply enough power to move 7,000 pounds across a central pivot.
Engineered and developed by DCL, “As We Are” is one-of-a-kind interactive sculpture that asks the question of what separates art from technology. With a striking physical presence, it’s difficult to ignore.
A full-scale, foam-layered prototype was constructed using projection mapping to test the initial photogrammetry system. The sculpture was then engineered and built in three separate sections, with final assembly and LED testing in Boston. Image storage servers and hardware was integrated into the “brain” of the sculpture, further playing on the notion of blending human function and physical construction.
Facial recognition software was integrated into the 3D photobooth to properly align and integrate with the photogrammetry system, ensuring proper content and remapping of the photos onto the sculpture.
Visitors engage the sculpture on a personal level but join a community as the sculpture cycles through its own history of past visitors.
Since its launch, the sculpture has received local and national visibility. Visitors of the Greater Columbus Convention Center are encouraged to engage with and share their experience on social media with #asweare. Both the GCCC and Matthew Mohr have received an energetic and enthusiastic response from visitors and fans. Seeing your face as a 14-foot sculpture is alarming to some and introspective to others, but in every case, it’s a memorable experience.
Greater Columbus Convention Center (Client)
Matthew Mohr (Designer)
Sansi North Amercia (LED Supplier )
Direct Dimensions (3D Scanning & Modeling)
Creosphere (US/CMS System)
Tellart (Preliminary Studies)
Reese Brothers (Curators)