Nothing signals the start of the holiday season in New York City like the launch of the annual department store window displays, which date back to the 1920s.
The Barneys flagship store on Madison Avenue brought Disney to the Big Apple in 2012, with the help of 425 Christie MicroTiles in eight windows and two floors across a city block.
This ambitious and highly popular eight-minute display, which runs on a loop through early January 2013, includes about 565 square feet of Christie MicroTiles digital canvas, 50 million pixels of resolution, 15 simultaneous HD video streams, 476 square feet of Traxon mesh, 600 feet of A-Deco Pixel strings and five d3 media servers. It’s a play on the popular Electric Light Parade that’s graced the streets of Walt Disney World and Disneyland for decades.
“We had to figure out how to tell a story that incorporated these whimsical and sculptural windows, and we knew Barneys is good at being able to dimensionalize and physicalize what they’re doing,” says Emanuel Treeson, principal designer at NYXdesign, the lead designer on the project, who worked Abigail Rosen-Holmes (media designer) and Brian Gale (production designer) on the project.
Barneys has had holiday-themed shows in previous years featuring Lady Gaga, Saturday Night Live and other pop culture legends. They took on Disney in 2012 and that meant finding a way to ramp up the entertainment value even more.
“Disney is all about taking you on a narrative journey. We knew the jewel in the crown for this journey was going to be the video where Minnie has a daydream about Fashion Week in Paris,” says Treeson. “With Disney, the creative is everything, so it became a challenge for us of what would fit and how we could put it in this confined box. We also didn’t want it to feel like you were looking at an electronics store. It had to feel like Barneys and Disney.”
At the same time, Treeson knew in New York at the holidays, this show had to be special.
“Everyone tries to do something different,” he says. “There’s a bit of one-upsmanship involved in it.”
Lighting Up The Holidays
The Electric Holiday show runs across four windows on each of the first two floors of the retailer’s flagship store, running about 13 or 14 feet across, 10 feet high and six feet deep. Because MicroTiles can stack, rotate and be rearranged easily and bring with them high-quality images and a low power draw, they were the perfect canvas for this “sculpture,” Treeson says.