Wednesday, September 30, 2015

George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art : Revised Renderings Released

Nearly one year after initial designs by China's Ma Yansong were unveiled to the public, refinements to the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art planned for a lakefront site in Chicago have been released.

The site will be located between Soldier Field and McCormick Place and is currently a parking lot, When MAD Architects' design was unveiled last year happened some controversy about its size and alien form. Actually it looks a bit like Imagineer John Hench early concepts for Disneyland Space Mountain, but considering that the museum will include rare memorabilia pieces from Star Wars, the "space" style of the architecture is almost logical.

In the revised design the form is basically the same, but the footprint of the museum has been trimmed by 25%, from 400,000 square feet (37,160 sm) to 300,000 square feet (27,870 sm) to apparently make more room for outdoors green spaces.

However if we look at the new renderings shown here and those from November 2014, it is hard to detect differences besides the refinement and added polish that has come with the imagery. Subtle changes are more obvious in the scale and prominence of the halo on the top of the building adhere there will be an observation deck.

The most obvious change is with the landsape, designed by SCAPE with Studio Gang Architects; and what was just some grass and trees fronting the museum is now, as you'll see on the picture below, a series of zigzagging paths leading to a raised terrace at the entrance to the building. Further, a cutaway axonometric gives an indication of how the interior would work, something that was described previously only in words.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel supports the new design but the museum apparently still has to gain the proper approvals before moving the construction begins. One impediment is a lawsuit filed by Friends of the Parks last year, which argues that the proposal violates the long-held protection of the lakefront from buildings. The usual environmental obstacles - which sometime are legitimate - but let's hope that they'll find an agreement as the museum in addition to Star Wars memorabilia's visitors will also find some from Indiana Jones. Works - if all goes well, are scheduled to start in March 2016 for an opening not before 2018.

Pictures: copyright Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Industrial light and Magic and Lucasfilm Developing Star Wars Virtual Reality "Experiential Entertainment"

The most interesting news of the day is coming from Industrial Light & Magic, the legendary special & visual effects company created by George Lucas which has always  been on the forefront of technology since Lucas founded it, and we learn they're developing some Virtual Reality-based "experiential entertainment" that will allow to interact with characters and settings from the Star Wars universe. THR points out that Lucasfilm and ILM have formed the ILM Experience Lab (ILMxLAB) to develop and create "virtual reality, augmented reality, real-time cinema, theme park entertainment and narrative-based experiences for future platforms."

From a THR article: "Industrial Light & Magic and parent company Lucasfilm have formed the ILM Experience Lab (ILMxLAB) to create immersive content — notably, experiences based on its Star Wars franchise. This will include virtual reality, augmented reality, real-time cinema, theme park entertainment and future platforms.

"Anything and everything is what you can expect," said Lucasfilm executive vp and ILM president Lynwen Brennan, speaking with The Hollywood Reporter. “The wonderful thing about the Star Wars universe is that there are so many stories that have yet to been explored. We are not restricting that universe [to the stories in the existing films]. All will be telling stories — that’s one of our core principles — with a point of view and emotion.”

She noted that this Star Wars content will be available for mass-market VR goggles, specialized VR and AR, and immersive cinema. “And the initial, most high-end experiences will be in the [Disney] parks.”

Brennan emphasized that the new unit isn’t just about Star Wars. While she declined to name specifics, she confirmed that the new unit will produce both live action and animated content and is working on other Disney-owned IP — which of course includes the Marvel universe as well as Pixar films — in addition to IP from other filmmakers and studios, and new original characters and stories. Some are already in production; the first such project, a Jurassic Park experience, is being demoed with Oculus Rift prototype VR goggles.

Creating these projects will be ILM artists — the same that are working on Star Wars: The Force Awakens and other such ILM VFX work. Brennan said the unit will also be adding staff, particularly on the technology side."

More details will be unveiled later this year, and in the meantime have a look at the video below.

Pictures and video: copyright Lucasfilm

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Skyacht One, a Yacht That Can Fly Designed by Eddie Sotto

Imagine a Yacht that can fly. That's what Eddie Sotto, the great WDI Imagineer show-producer of Main Street at Disneyland Paris, the Theme Building restaurant at LAX Airport, the L.A Rivera restaurant, and much more, has designed through his company Sotto Studios for Embraer. The plane is called Skyacht One and soars with it's hand painted "trompe l'oeil" mahogany "hull" and towering vertical stabilizer. Let's have a closer look to Eddie's new wonder with pictures and Skyacht One description, but first let's watch this video in which Eddie himself will present to you the gorgeous Skyacht One.

The description and pictures below comes from the Skyacht One website HERE, Eddie is famous for the attention he gives to details and as you'll see, it's the case more than ever in Skyacht One!

Skyacht One™ is based on the Embraer's Flagship Lineage 1000E aircraft and directive—Innovative Luxury—permeates every detail in the cabin. The first impression is no exception. A planetary Clock lies embedded in a marquetry mural inspired by the 15th Century Ducal Palace's Studiolo of Italy. The rug is Fornasetti, and the Galley is appointed to evoke the portable luxury of the British Campaign style. Custom hardware sets off the personalized embossed leather. On closer inspection, the bulkhead walls are planked and pegged as on a Yacht. The closer you look, the better it gets.  Why should real luxury be confined to the ground or the sea?  

As passengers spend so much time in a plane seat Eddie think that the "close up" experience should be unsurpassed. So, he revisited things passengers touch and made them intuitive, beautiful and classically textural with bejeweled controls from engraved brass, gold, silver and platinum. When they'll reach out in the dark to turn a light on, there is still nothing better than the feeling of a fine knob or lever. They just work.  From the brass inlaid window bezels, each with mahogany surround and panelling, to the adjustable vintage styled leather sunshades, the skies never looked better.

Skyacht One main cabin is expansive and gorgeous with a Chesterfield Sofa and Cocktail Bar for watching television or surfing the net. Seating is lavish, flanked by inlaid paneling and window "portholes" lined in brass, nickel and mahogany. Platinum Controls are bejeweled and simply operated. Shagreen "Stingray" skin lines the valances and tabletops, while Skyacht's ribbed structure of inlaid brass and wood span the cabin with adjustable lighting. 

The Captain's Quarters is intimate, fiercely romantic and lined in padded suede, underscored by bookmatched Macassar walls and paneled ceiling. Authentic detail abounds. 14th Century Star maps are the inspiration for the silk Cellarius Carpeting, while Skyacht's signature Armillary Sphere is softly inlaid on the secret sliding door. Reading lights adjust up and down the ship's trusses, while a flat screen TV faces opposite. A ring of Skyports line the ceiling. Attached is the matching bath and shower. 

Skyacht One's Master Bath is second to none. It features a bejeweled "throttle" inspired faucet with a lit gauge that controls temperature over a walnut and gold sink. Edge lit bronze mirror softly bathes the space while adjustable spotlighting tasks the working areas in addition to a brass framed window. The walls are lined with matte finished teak and mahogany, held tightly by brass fittings.  Contrasting the woodgrain, green Malachite countertops and Shower lend a deep elegance. Vintage Fornasetti Accessories accent our own platinum Skyacht hardware. 

Recently Eddie and Embraer released this new video which is a "walk-through" inside Skyacht One. Definitely watch it in HD and full screen mode. Any person interested to order or receive more informations on Skyacht One can do it easily on this page HERE.

All pictures and videos: copyright Sotto Studios and Embraer

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Microsoft Introduces HoloLens, Digital Holograms that Interact with your Physical Environment.

Everyone who have seen the Iron Man movies probably love the way Tony Stark manipulates 3D holograms when he's working on his inventions. Well, Microsoft unveiled yesterday during their Windows 10 announcement something which seems to use the same kind of technology that Tony Stark uses in the Iron Man movies.

During the presentation the Microsoft guys had a "one more thing" to introduce to the world, and it's called HoloLens. HoloLens is a see-through headset that allows you to see digital holograms that interact with your physical environment. Holographic technology - as they call it because i'm not sure we can call this real "holograms" - seems to be a big deal right now but for me and as cool as it looks it seems to be closer to "augmented reality" than real holograms, that's why i don't buy really what Microsoft is trying to sell us in their marketing presentation.

Anyway, check out the videos below. and let's wait until we try this technology in real to see if it is really amazing, or just a "one more thing" which will make our lives probably more "fun", but not necessarily better.

Picture and video: copyright Microsoft

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Disney Research Creates a Crush Robot to Draw Pictures Onto The Beach !

Disney fans are going to like this "Beachbot" robot as the guys from Disney Research have created an adorable robot looking like Finding Nemo's sea turtle Crush able to draw by itself pictures onto a beach!

From Techcrunch: "The robot — aptly called “Beachbot” — works by dragging a set of pins through the sand, sort of like a rake. Each pin is individually raisable, allowing the bot to draw lines of varying thicknesses. More pins down = thicker lines drawn.

The artist behind the robot starts a canvas by setting down poles, which the robot uses as markers to finely calculate its position. At that point, the robot can be passed an image file to draw automatically, or the artists can steer it manually.

The Beachbot moves on a set of large, soft wheels that Disney has dubbed “balloon wheels”, allowing it to move across the sand without leaving tracks or screwing up whatever it’s drawn previously.

Why? A) Because why not. and B) It doesn’t require much thinking to come up with practical uses for this, even just within the realm of Disney. Disney has beach resorts. People would flip out to wake up in the morning and see their favorite characters drawn in the sand outside of their room — and by lunch, high tide would come in and wash it away, prepping the canvas for a new drawing the next day.

This project, like a good number of Disney Research’s projects, was built in collaboration with Swiss engineering school ETH Z├╝rich."

Don't miss the video below!

Pictures and video: copyright Disney Research