How do you persuade an audience to see the forest instead of the individual trees? That was, in short, Intel Corp.'s dilemma for the 2016 Mobile World Congress. The company planned on demonstrating in excess of 60 individual technologies at the expo, many of them associated with the Internet of Things (IoT). Intel, however, worried that attendees wouldn't intuitively grasp that the IoT tech, powering everything from self-driving cars to high-flying drones, would be connected via a complex cat's cradle of software and hardware. "Intel wanted a vast and instantly engaging focal element that would entice visitors to see the technology as a unified whole," said Andy Sexton, the creative director for 2LK Design Ltd.
Suspended from an overhead truss above Intel Corp.'s booth, the canopy of rings comprised 243 custom-made, laser-cut aluminum loops, each swathed in two rows of LED tape and equipped with a motion sensor and a small computer. The rings generated multiple effects, including light patterns inspired by the movements of guests on the floor and directional beacons to presentations and products.
Collaborating with London's Jason Bruges Studio, Sexton and his team conceived a solution they playfully nicknamed the "Curious Canopy." Hung from an overhead truss and blanketing the sprawling 19,000-square-foot booth, the canopy consisted of 243 bespoke 4-foot-diameter rings, each made from laser-cut aluminum and wrapped in two rows of LED tape. Each ring also featured a motion sensor and an Edison module, a tiny, low-cost, high-power computer that powers many IoT devices.
Throughout the show, the rings segued through four different modes. For example, in crowd mode they generated unique patterns inspired by the random movements of visitors below. In focus mode, a directional sequence of lights guided attendees to demos and other points of interest in the booth. Much more than a mere ceiling structure, the Curious Canopy was a conversation piece, traffic builder, and what one Exhibit Design Awards judge called "an exquisite invitation to an otherworldly experience." E