Submarine Channel


Projection Mappings 2012

2012 was a memorable year for projection mappings, and they’ve come a long way since we first wrote about them back in 2009. This past year we were dazzled with an overwhelming amount of examples of this evolving and transformative art form that playfully re-imagines static surfaces using a combination of motion graphics, 3D animations, projectors, Kinect, and a whole slew of the latest and greatest augmenting technologies. But what excited us most were projection mappings that took on the breathtaking scale of iconic city buildings around the world as their canvas. What better way to visualize and tell the history of decade and century-old structures than by twisting, turning, and generally deconstructing their usual geometry?

Here is our pick of five super awesome ones, taking you all the way from New York City to Sydney, with Europe squeezed in between.


1. Maritime Hotel, NYC

On June 28th, NYC’s landmark Maritime Hotel became the canvas for a massive projection mapping art installation celebrating the legacy of global art icon and activist, Keith Haring. The four-hour show – commissioned by the Keith Haring Foundation to Pearl Media, and produced by Go2Productions – paid tribute to Haring’s widely regarded graffiti-like visual language. Fusing 3D projection, animation and effects with Haring’s distinct style, the artwork completely took over the hotel’s facade and its unique porthole windows.


2. Buckingham Palace, London

[editor’s note: sadly due to BBC’s strict copyright laws, nearly all videos of the projection were taken down. But we found one, though we couldn’t embed it. Click on the image above to watch it.]

London’s legendary Buckingham palace got a much-needed – albeit short-lived – facelift when it became the grandiose backdrop of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert back in June.  This patriotic video projection re-imagined the palace as shabby public houses and east London row houses, showcasing Brits from various walks of life, while the ska band Madness performed ‘Our House. Originally approached by the BBC, Sam Pattison at Treatment Studios was commissioned to create this top-secret large scale projection, for which he put together an incredibly talented team of designers and animators, including the BAFTA award-winning company, Trunk Animation. Incredible how they pulled it all off – it was definitely one of the highlights of the night, and oddly enough the only 15 minutes I tuned in to the concert on TV.


3. “Enter The Human Age”, Gashouder, Amsterdam

Those who gathered at Amsterdam’s historic Westerpark on April 1st, 2012 were privy to an impressive 3D projection that told an abstract story of The Human Age, where human talent is key. Directed and produced by Dutch-based studio PostPanic for Experis Nederland, a recruitment brand, the visually striking and imaginative showcase was a feat for its 360 degree projection onto the iconic cylindrical shaped steel tank that extends to a height of 40 meters.


4. “Ode á la vie” (Ode to Life), Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Barcelona is without a doubt Gaudi’s city, and one of its most beloved sights – the as-yet-unfinished Sagrada Familia – was treated to a brilliant 15-minute projection-mapping spectacle.  Evoking a “living fresco made of color, light, and sound”, the facade of the church was bejeweled with visual effects that played with its statues, stones, stained-glass windows, and the spires of the basilica, to tell the story of birth and re-birth. We imagine this was no easy task, taking into account the extraordinarily complex geometry of this structure.


5. Sydney Opera House, Sydney

Back in May, architect Jørn Utzon paid homage to the architecture of the iconic shell roof of the Sydney Opera House by reimagining it as a massive piece of fabric. Mapped by German art collective Urban Screen, the roof began to pulse, rip, fold, and rupture, revealing its rich interiors for the 2012 Vivid Sydney Festival. Though not as glitzy as some other projections we’ve come across, we love the poetic feel of this one.


By @k_yudin

Katy worked at Submarine Channel as an editor, social media manager and digital producer. She's now contributing as a freelancer from her home in NYC. Katy is a new media thinker and film junkie with a passion for digital storytelling.