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DWP 2017 – Better Together

An experiment in design, technology, and collaboration.

Each year since 2012, Design Week Portland has pulled together the city's creative community for a celebration of thinking, process, craft, and creativity – bridging the gaps between creatives, businesses, and the communities they serve. The weeklong festival stitches together events, open houses, and happenings across the city that connect, educate, and inspire.

For this year's festival, we set out to bring an event to the programming that was as inspiring as it was collaborative. A night that balanced good times with epic creative. That brought together our network of friends and partners alongside residents of this beautiful city we all call home. The end result pushed us further than we'd ever thought possible, both creatively and technically.

In the early stages of the concepting process, we teamed up with our friends and frequent collaborators at Marmoset Music to help develop the audio for the experience. Working hand in hand with our Art Directors and Designers for Content, the Original Music Team at Marmoset crafted a series of custom tracks to pair with pre-rendered visuals throughout the experience. A series of audio stems were also created to accompany the interactive elements that made up the core of the event programming.

Another early partner in the concepting process was interactive designer and Adobe Creative Resident, Craig Winslow, who brought extensive knowledge and experience surrounding large scale projection mapping and motion design. Craig brought a unique perspective to the programming, utilizing a series midi controllers to add a personal and human touch alongside the interactive and pre-rendered motion elements.

The driving force behind the interactive elements of the experience was thermal imaging powered by FLIR Systems, which helped to negate the impact of ambient light from the projectors – which had hindered the effectiveness of traditional image tracking in the early stages. The Digital team at Cinco built an intuitive grid which tracked audience density in the active area of the event space, leveraging the shifting of the crowd to control interactive motion and audio. Alongside the crowd-controlled elements of the experience we developed a number of reactive visualizers created in three.js that brought audio to life in a number of thematic applications.

The final result was an experience that blended the ambient with the interactive, massive scale with attention to the smallest details, and a dynamically personal experience with a community gathering. We can't thank all of the partners that helped make the night go smoothly enough, and can't wait to leverage our learnings from this experience to share an updated experience with more of you. Stay tuned!

Special thanks to:

Marmoset Music
Craig Winslow
FLIR Systems
Meyer Pro
Pinnacle Exhibits
Coach Sarge Cine
10 Barrel Brewing
Bow & Arrow Wines
Stacked Sandwich Shop