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Tom Wiscombe Architecture has created a new concept of billboard for the City of West Hollywood. The vertically oriented, three-dimensional object will not only display commercial and cultural media content, but will also allow interaction with pedestrians using their smartphones.
“Sunset Boulevard has played a distinct role in the evolution of the billboard, particularly in the 60’s and 70’s, with edgy content, protruding elements, and promotional appearances by music stars”, said the LA-based architecture studio in a press release. “Our proposal aims to build on this legacy in a contemporary way.”
The three-sided structure will display commercial media and news for the City of West Hollywood, as well as video art interventions curated by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA). Designed to be installed in a city square, with steps that double as benches, the Belltower can be used as a backdrop for live-feed events.
According to the design team, “it speaks to a world where commercial and cultural content can be hybridized, and media is no longer just a way of advertising but a way of life.”
Named the West Hollywood Belltower, the billboard’s vertical orientation will contrast with the flat, horizontal billboards that currently exist on Sunset Strip. “It operates on the level of deep urban archetypes, such as ancient bell-towers, clock-towers, and obelisks, which are associated with civic space and community engagement”, explained the architect.
The exterior is covered in perforated metal featuring embedded high-resolution LED technology for video projections. It also includes a “theatrical lighting” system which allows different setups according to the time of the day and of the year.
While visible to passing drivers, it is primarily intended to engage walkers and encourage the public imagination. “Pedestrians can interact with it directly via apps on their smartphones, altering patterns of light (…) or ‘pushing’ digitally altered media content onto it”, said Wiscombe.
The Belltower creators claim its potential to become the “most instagrammable” billboard in the world and point out the project’s significance by existing “simultaneously in two realms: the local physical space of the Sunset Strip and the global digital space of social media”.