San Francisco

Razorfish Emerging Experiences’ “Flight Deck” for SFO.

Last week I was traveling through San Francisco International airport so I had the privilege of seeing this first hand. It’s pretty amazing in person and the photos do not do it justice. Razorfish has created an immersive experience that tries to recapture the golden age of travel, before jetliners became the Greyhound busses of the skies.

There are three total components to the entire experience; an interactive and real time large scale projection, the multi-touch kiosks, and the mobile  component. “Flight Deck” Featuring massive digital displays customers can see real-time flight information and updates, and interact with 6 touchscreen kiosks that feature interactive content about the San Francisco bay area, and the destinations the airport serves world wide.The entire service is connected to a mobile service allowing travelers to be connected even on the go.

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While the primary experience lives at Terminal 3, with the projected visualization functioning as a beacon calling on all SFO guests to contribute to the global SFO travel story, the total experience extends beyond SFO in the end. If you are traveling through San Francisco and have the time, I highly recommend stoping by to see this. For more info on Flight Deck, click here.

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Emergence (2013) Obscura and Exploratorium

Here is a little teaser for an event that is happening at nightfall on April 17th and 18th at the historic Pier 15 in San Francisco. If I were in town on those dates, I’d be there for sure. The video below shows the behind the scenes footage of a projection mapping event that is being built by Obscura Digital. The company fabricated ten miniature replicas of the Exploratorium’s façade at Pier 15, and then filmed a vivid array of non-computer generated, real-life visualizations for the projection map.

The thing I like about this film is how it shows just how much prep work and time goes into a project like this. If you do anything with motion graphics or CGI you already know. Just in case your boss or client doesn’t, show them this.

Gymkhana FIVE: Ultimate Urban Playground… San Francisco.

Quite possibly one of the best car chase sequences ever filmed is the seven minute chase in Steve McQueen’s movie “Bullitt”. The sequence below comes close though. Technically this isn’t a car chase. It is simply a very skilled race car driver devouring the streets of San Francisco at high speed in a rally car. This is however a really great piece of shooting, editing, and sound design for DC Shoes.

I’ve watched this about 15 times, and I have lost count of the number of edits in this. There is combined footage from at least 6 GoPro cameras, plus footage from the air, the street, and buildings. Portions of it are over clocked for some spectacular slow-mo shots, and there are a couple of really great dolly moves as well. While this probably has 14 year old boys everywhere peeing themselves and dreaming of driving like this, the editing is of this short is what gives it an edge.

I can’t even imagine what it cost DC to pull this off. They shut down the bay bridge and a huge chunk of San Francisco’s roads to get all of this footage.

MIT’s City Car, Becomes a Reality as Hiriko.

About 5 years ago, MIT began developing an inner city automobile that was designed for highly congested areas. The commuter car had a distinct advantage in dense urban areas where parking is always at a premium. “City Car” could fold up to reduce it’s physical footprint.

Recently in Brussels, the “City Car”, now renamed “Hiriko Fold” was revealed as an actual production prototype slated to go into production in 2013. The first urban areas slated to receive the car is Vitoria Gasteiz, a community on the edge of Bilbao Spain. Cities slated to follow the debut of for a trial run with Hiriko are Boston, Berlin, Hong Kong, Francisco, and Malmo. It will be interesting to see how well this concept does in the United States, a country that loves it’s over sized gas guzzling SUV’s and Trucks. A country where people don’t mind driving from an hour outside the city on their daily commute. One thing about most of the United States, land is available, and urban sprawl is common. These factors lend themselves to the obsession with Suburbans, F-350’s, Hummers, and Explorers in most of America.

The Hiriko, when unfolded is slightly smaller than a Smart Car, yet the styling is very futuristic, and sleek. Factors that might help it do better than Smart has done since it’s introduction to the American market a few years back.

What makes Hiriko unique is it’s ability to fold into itself allowing it to park in a space about one third the size of a normal car. According to MIT, three to four Hiriko vehicles can fit into the space used by a normal full sized car. This will be huge for American cities like New York, San Francisco, or Boston. In addition, the Hiriko has the ability to turn on its axis with virtually no turning ratio which aids in inner city driving/parking conditions. Powered by four independent electric motors (one for each wheel) Hiriko can even move sideways in a crab-like manner, virtually eliminating the need to ever parallel park the in a traditional fashion.

Hiriko is estimated to cost around $12,500 when it arrives next year. That price point makes it affordable, and it’s size makes it desirable for many. I just hope MIT can come up with a marketing plan that will sell this to an American audience. In my opinion Hiriko will be a huge success in Europe, Japan, India, and other extremely dense urban areas. Here in the good old USA, it might be a tough sell since we have to share the streets with so many bloated over sized vehicles. Either way I can’t wait to see this in person, and actually take it for a test drive.

popuphood in Oakland California.

For years Oakland California has been considered the arm pit of the San Francisco Bay area to spite the fact that it has a thriving  bar and restaurant scene, and affordable housing. To help combat this image, popuphood was launched in December of 2011 by Alfonso Dominquez and Sarah Filley. The objective was to help encourage urban renewal in Oakland by filling five previously vacant store fronts in Old Oakland with five new retail shops, including a jewellers and art gallery.

The project’s primary focus is to support the local Oakland community, providing them with a vibrant shopping area giving local artists, designers and retailers the opportunity to open their own store for six months, rent free. The hope is that by building cross sector partnerships with local and federal governments, the economic development council, and private businesses popuphood will help develop a dynamic and vibrant community.

The video below explains popuphood in more detail:

San Francisco Day Two

We should have planned more days in San Francisco before driving south along the PCH to Santa Barbara. Out of all the cities in America, this is my number one choice for places to live. Not the suburbs, but the city itself. It has all the dynamics of New York, yet it always feels so international compared to other US cities.

Today was spent knocking around North Beach, the Presidio, and Fillmore districts after waiting for more than an hour to eat at Dottie’s True Blue Cafe. Everywhere we went we were surrounded by culture, food, fashion, and design. All of which is juxtaposed with the homeless and transient society that also floods this city. Perhaps this dichotomy of cultural extremes is why I am drawn here. There is so much wealth, and culture, so much in the way of the arts and design communities, yet there is also a counter point to all of this.

For example, today we were looking at all the wonderfully designed kitchen wares at the Allesi store, while a homeless man used the doorway next door as a bathroom, completely oblivious to the people passing by. The pedestrians, like the man in the doorway desensitized to all of it.

No matter what, I still love this place.

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