A Spatial Augmented Reality Experience for a Global Design Firm

An immersive smart space brings physical content to life using augmented reality and natural user interfaces.

Global design firm Gensler wanted a brilliant way to engage visitors at their award-winning downtown Los Angeles office. With works ranging from the Shanghai Tower to the San Francisco International Airport, Gensler’s portfolio is a testament to their groundbreaking vision. The firm needed an equally groundbreaking solution to showcase its portfolio in the lobby of its downtown office, which it describes as “a workplace of the future and design lab for clients.

Gensler and Synect worked together to envision new ways to engage and inform visitors by immersing them in Genser’s body of work, including an urban architecture and modern cities monograph.

The key challenge for the team was to build an interactive experience on top of the existing space and materials—and to seamlessly integrate the physical and digital elements.

Gensler partnered with Synect to create the Gensler Multi Surface Experience. Working under the name The Hive, Synect developed an experience attracts visitors toward a digitally augmented table and book. When a person enters the lobby, animations unfold from the book onto the table. As a person walks closer, an interface appears on the table, inviting the visitor to take control of a video wall and digital explore the contents of the monograph.

The installation enhances each object with a new layer of digital content, and adds new context to the contents of the book. The interface allows guests to access digital media from Gensler’s vast portfolio on the connected 4k video wall. The installation showcases the firm’s work on across a variety of sectors ranging from expansive international airport projects to intricate retail experiences in leading luxury stores—which can be explored on the video wall, or in the book.

“As architects and designers we try to understand how technology and experience affect the spaces we design,” Alan Robles, experience designer at Gensler, says. “The Gensler Multi Surface Experience is a groundbreaking smart space that allows people to interact with their environment in a way that’s never been done before.”

Visitors were captivated by the installation, as was the press.

Engadget reported “we've seen touch-friendly tables before, but they're rarely so slick as the Multi Surface Experience…”

AV Network further explained that “the magic begins as visitors enter the lobby and walk into an experience that attracts them towards an augmented table and book.”

PSFK wrote “The impressive installation demonstrates the possibilities of a seamless integration between physical space and digital experience.” The installation was covered in many other outlets, including Augmented Reality Trends, Design News, Digital Signage Connection, and more.

The installation won a DSA Crown Award later that year, and it helped establish a benchmark for both augmented reality experiences and interactive video walls, which remain exciting categories with a lot of potential for innovation.

Synect solves problems with pixels. We’re a specialized agency dedicated to revolutionizing content, interactivity and systems for video walls of unlimited size and scale. Contact us for more information.