The InterContinental Hotel is the newest luxury addition to BRIC (Broadway and Pacific) in San Diego. Designed with sophistication, the waterfront property caters to groups and individuals who are traveling for both leisure and business. The resort resides along the Pacific Coast Highway, a section recognized for formerly housing the Lane Field Baseball Park, and is central to the hustle and bustle of Downtown San Diego.
For the grand opening, the InterContinental aimed to pay tribute to the interactive California culture and lifestyle that it would soon become immersed in. To achieve this, the decision was made to design and create a beautiful, digital art piece to be projected on the side of the hotel for the entire community to experience.
For the project to be successful, multiple teams needed to be on the same page. This required collaboration amongst the general contractor Hensel Phelps, video artist Roark Gourley, projection manufacturer Christie Digital and audiovisual integrator, Spinitar. In addition, every step of the process needed approval from the Port of San Diego and the California Coastal Commission.
Initially, the InterContinental Hotel connected Roark Gourley, project artist with Hensel Phelps. Both parties had extensive experience with hospitality and were in contact with community groups for San Diego commission approval. For implementation, the team on-boarded Christie Digital, a leading digital projection and display technology manufacturer. With the art, construction, and technology in place, Christie then tapped Spinitar as the final puzzle piece. Spinitar joined the project and worked closely with all teams to integrate the AV technology with precision and vision.
The digital public art piece, Liquid Light, was designed to be a night time projection, displayed on a large glass facade. Roark Gourley is a creative artist, seasoned in hotel and hospitality art, on-boarded for his artistic direction. His inspiration for the InterContinental art piece branches from his recent illustration Linquescent, depicting the becoming of liquid, a concept derived from the idea that humans consume and are made of water.
To visualize the abstract interaction between liquid and form, Roark pulled together his expertise in photography and video & sculptural art, to transform a simple projection into a large 17 ft x 145 ft high-resolution moving mural, similar to iMax, only bigger. The imagery was shot both in and out of water, in 4K, with slow motion and special effects. Spinitar provided Roark with instruction on video formatting and structure to ensure that the projected piece was depicted with accuracy. Due to the intricacy of the artwork and production process, the technology functionality, Roark’s artistic expression, and the overall project vision demanded a delicate balance for completion.
Christie Digital was an ideal technology expert for the project. They came into this project with extensive experience in outdoor projection mapping, having done similar projects for large theme parks. The surface of the building was glass, so not only was the projection difficult to maintain, but external factors like heat, water exposure, and mounting solution were considered. A custom enclosure system, with heating and cooling capabilities was used to protect the projectors. Special lenses prevent outside moisture from corroding the technology and non-intrusive mounting solutions adhered projectors to the building surfaces.
In addition, Spinitar provided specifications for supporting technologies, connecting the right manufacturing partners with the correct expertise required to properly integrate all systems. For approximately 2 years, Christie Digital and Spinitar worked closely to refine the project’s technological design.
Technologies used for this project:
From project kick off to completion, Spinitar was fully enveloped in the project, taking point with the technical aspects of project management, turnkey AV system implementation, equipment mounting, field installation, programming, and end-user training. For design-build implementation, Spinitar prepared functional interconnected diagrams and put together circuit details, equipment rack elevations and system testing, to ensure optimal performance. Mounting equipment, system level and structural testing was done during projector installation. Touch panels were included so that technology use was straight-forward and comprehensive. In addition, Spinitar provided training for the manual operation of display systems, audio systems and all other related components. Extensive testing was performed for all custom wall plates and devices as well.
The project was demonstrated in August 2017 and then again in November 2017 after revision. The InterContinental art piece was finally completed in August 2018, followed with a ribbon cutting ceremony in September 2018 and an official unveiling scheduled in October 2018. Liquid Light occupies the pedestrian corridor on W. Broadway between Pacific Highway and Harbor Dr. as the first moving digital art piece in San Diego, enhancing the experience of all visitors and guests of the area.