Taking Flight

A socially-powered light installation visualises a #lifewelltravelled.

  • Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane
  • 12k
    animations
  • 1.2M
    engagements

Tasked with helping Cathay Pacific leverage their Night Noodle Market sponsorship, we created an interactive artwork bringing their iconic brushwing logo to life through light. Designed to help the brand ‘own’ the event across real world and digital channels, Taking Flight was a huge light installation synchronising over 1,200 individual LED lights into an audiovisual experience inspired by the airline’s destinations. Designed to bring audiences into active engagement with the brand, these unique animations and soundscapes were triggered every time visitors posted online with the hashtag #LifeWellTravelled

Nights to remember

Background
Crowds at Night Noodle Markets in Melbourne.

Australia’s Night Noodle Markets are a destination for the exotic. Visitors converge on the event each year to try foreign and familiar foods from cultures around the world. A gateway into the culture of regions across Asia, the event presented a perfect opportunity for Hong Kong’s signature airline, Cathay Pacific, to showcase the diversity of their brand. However, in the noisy environment of a live festival, finding a way to draw the link from food to culture would be paramount.

Physical + digital

Concept

Soaring above the markets, Taking Flight was an interactive light installation providing visitors with an iconic place to gather and eat, while treating them to a spectacular show of light and sound. Created in partnership with Traffik Marketing, its goal was to create a lively, vibrant digital marketing activation that would allow Cathay Pacific to ‘own’ the Night Noodle Markets, both in the real world and across social media.

Cathay Pacific Taking Flight light installation at the Night Noodle Markets.

Bringing a logo to life

Installation

The core structure of Taking Flight was constructed from a matrix of over 1,200 addressable LED lights suspended in an abstract flock of birds above diners at the Cathay Pacific Marquee. While captivating up close, when viewed from afar the light installation also formed Cathay Pacific’s iconic ‘brushwing’ logo, giving the brand exposure and awareness throughout the entire Night Noodle Markets.

Cathay Pacific brushwing logo made from LEDs for Taking Flight light installation by digital marketing agency S1T2.

Beyond this physical embodiment of the Cathay Pacific logo, Taking Flight also generated synchronised audiovisual experiences for visitors based on the locations that the airline travels to. It was these performances that allowed the interactive artwork to embody the personality and stories that the logo represents.

Digital marketing agency S1T2 design mock up of interactive artwork Taking Flight.

To bring the performances to life, the installation was constructed from RGB LEDs which we could pixel map to form a 3D canvas of light. TDrawing inspiration from five iconic yet contrasting Cathay Pacific destinations, we used these lights and a bespoke soundtrack to create a series of unique animations triggered by audience interactions.

Thousands of coloured LED lights form the Cathay Pacific brushwing logo for Taking Flight light Installation.

Audio informs visual

Sound + Light

At the heart of the interactive artwork was a series of 30 second compositions by musician Ben Romalis, each representing a distinct culture and region. These pieces were then used as the inspiration for our visual programming of the corresponding light performance. The cultural acoustic accents of each composition – from the drums of sub-saharan Africa to the distinct plucked instrumentals of Thailand – also performed a storytelling role, helping to connect each performance to the place that inspired it.

Using the Cathay Pacific brand colours as our colour palette, we then created the visual performance through moving silhouettes mapped onto the 3D LED matrix. Despite the limited resolution of this approach, we strove to design animations that reflected the cultural tone of each destination – the rising red sun of Japan levitated to calm instrumentals, while the busy nightlife of Hong Kong was visualised through a more erratic composition.

Socially-generated performances

Interaction

Taking the interactive artwork one step further, we decided to trigger the audiovisual performances through audience interaction. Tapping into the Instagram API, with some careful programming we were able to have the pixel-mapped performances activated by engagement with Cathay Pacific’s digital marketing campaign and hashtag #LifeWellTravelled.

Cathay Pacific brushwing logo made from LED lights as part of interactive artwork Taking Flight.

By constantly polling the Instagram API, we were able to engineer the light installation to play an animated sequence every time visitors posted photos, with a delay of less than 0.5 seconds. The result was an interactive artwork that could adapt and change in real time – as it did over 12,000 times.

This social media integration gave visitors to the Night Noodle Markets a way to actively engage with the light installation – and with the Cathay Pacific brand. Combined with an associated digital marketing competition for Cathay Pacific air miles, this extension of the physical sculpture into the digital world opened up the project’s reach to audiences across Australia.

Matrix of LED lights used by digital marketing agency S1T2 to create Taking Flight light installation.

Thousands of interactions

Results

After initial success, Taking Flight was a feature sculpture and meeting place at Night Noodle Markets across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Through its social media integration, the light installation’s performance was initiated over 12,000 times across these activations, reaching over 1.2 million people around Australia in just a few short days.

Digital marketing interactive artwork Taking Flight made from thousands of LED lights.
image of green lights for the Cathay Pacific experience.

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