ProjectFramelessLocationLondon, UKInstallerCreative Technology Systems IntegrationSubmitted byCreative Technology Systems Integration

Breaking the boundaries of projection art, ‘Frameless’ is the UK’s biggest, permanent immersive art experience. Housed within the newly developed Marble Arch Place in London, the space covers almost 3,000 sq m and showcases no fewer than 40 different digital interpretations of 28 of the world’s most iconic artists.

Creative Technology Systems Integration was contracted to deliver the display requirement, including LED and LCD screens, and video projection across the entire venue.

The venue itself consists of an entrance foyer, four immersive galleries, multi-purpose event space for private hire for corporate or educational events, a café bar, and a gift shop.

Gallery 1  ‘Beyond Reality’ enables visitors to experience floor and wall projection, fitted with a mirrored ceiling and columns, and a mirror moat that covers the perimeter of the floor.

Gallery 2 ‘Colour In Motion’ uses advanced motion tracking to allow visitors to paint using their own gestures and movements. This was made possible by utilising Microsoft Azure Connect cameras placed at a high level to track people’s movements, with the information then sent to Derivative’s TouchDesigner software to animate the projections in real-time.

The interactive projection is created using six Panasonic RQ22K, eight Panasonic D3LEU100 zero offset UST lenses, two Panasonic RQ35KEJ 3 chip DLP 30,500 lumens projectors with 4K Quad Pixel Drive to provide native 4K resolution, one Sony A6000 fisheye lens for calibration, Screenberry auto calibration for multi-projector setup. The loudspeaker system (all EM Acoustics) comprises 22 EMS-41, four R8, and an S-218.

Gallery 3 ‘The World Around Us’ is the largest gallery at Frameless where visitors are thrown into crashing oceans, explore bustling cities and stand on the edge of fiery volcanoes. The gallery uses wall, floor and ceiling projection, enabling images to be seen across all surfaces to extend every canvas. To conceal the equipment, the projectors have been mounted within the room’s walls using different ranges of lenses.

Gallery 4 ‘The Art of Abstraction’ shows artwork appearing to float in space, but also moving across multi-layered, translucent surfaces. Vibrant colours are projected onto multiple gauzes which are up to four meters tall. These are suspended from the ceiling and mounted at various angles throughout the gallery. All 11 projectors within the room are mounted at 45° to minimise shadows.

Gallery 5 ‘Blank Canvas’ has been designed as a multi-functional space, where the walls can project a choice of imagery from the main galleries, but alternatively, they can be used to display company messaging or logos to suit any private function or event.

As for the audio design behind the project, the artwork is set to a score of specially composed music curated by award-winning composers which is bespoke to each of the four galleries – with much of the soundtrack and soundscape triggered by the visitors themselves as they move around. Autograph Sound designed and installed the audio network and collaborated on the show control with Creative Technology Systems Integration.

A complex project of this calibre does not come without its challenges and the first one in this instance was the venue itself. Being such a spacious building with multiple rooms and galleries meant that technically this required a unique delivery. In addition to this, technology positioning was key in meeting the client’s vision of projecting well-known artistic masterpieces seamlessly across various surfaces and angles while ensuring the moving artwork illusions were never disrupted by the technology used to display it.

Another aspect which added to the challenging nature of this project was the timeframe from concept to delivery – with just 12 months to create this spectacular experience before the doors were opened to the public.

To effectively cover the entirety of each gallery with seamless projection, 52 projectors were utilised throughout the venue. The highest level of technical expertise and world-class technology was required to meet the high resolution and intricate set-up required to display the beautiful, high-resolution content.

It was very important that the projectors and other equipment were blended into the environment as unobtrusively as possible. A variety of methods were used to successfully conceal the equipment, including mounting projectors within walls at different angles using a variety of lenses to minimise shadows, and custom mirror-wrapping projectors to fit elusively into a gallery with a mirrored ceiling, columns and moat around the perimeter of the floor.

One of the key challenges faced by the CT SI team was the short timeframe of only 12 months from signing the lease to opening the installation to the public. Due to this, there was a condensed design period which coincided with on-site work. With the design development being fluid and the need for construction infrastructure decisions to be made as early as possible there were a number of late-in-the-day construction changes that impacted CT’s ongoing works that required a degree of flexibility in the programme planning.

In addition to this, design changes such as mirror-wrapping the projectors in Gallery 1 and the reduction of projection apertures in Gallery 3, which required changes to the projection mapping and alignment, also had to be dealt with efficiently.

Creative Technology is a market leader in live events and permanent installations. Using its knowledge and expertise from these markets, the Systems Integration team collaborated with Frameless to source and integrate all video systems across the visitor attraction. Services relating to the video systems were delivered in the venue across the four immersive galleries and the wider venue spaces including the foyer, escalator, and cafe bar.

Creative Technology was tasked with meeting the Frameless teams’ objective of creating a fully immersive experience that would entertain, engage, and educate all ages. The vision for this first multi-roomed experience was to push the boundaries of technology through innovative solutions and seamless integration.

To deliver the largest permanent immersive experience in the UK of such a significant scale with very complex projection layouts in less than 12 months, from design to completion, during a time when product availability and lead times were not favourable was a huge accomplishment with outstanding results.