The holidays are looming (you can only deny it for so long) and with it comes the allure of holiday window displays, drawing you inside like a siren calls a sailor. For Cartier’s storefront on 5th Avenue in NYC, Zigelbaum + Coelho designed an interactive gift display that lets passersby control the fancy boxes in the window.
The piece, called Reach, features various red boxes displaying shiny jewelry which people can open and close by moving their hands, giving them reign over what is usually off limits. It’s a deceptively simple setup, but behind the scenes there’s a complex network of equipment featuring a Mac mini, a projector, a high-precision sensor, and mechanized boxes fitted with motors controlled by microcontroller boards. It’s a place where digital media meets wood and wires, as these interactive sculptures are brought to life with all the charm of an animatronic Mogwai.
The beauty of the piece is its accessibility and openness—facing the street where anybody can pass by it beckons people to engage with it and rewards them with an unexpected surprise. As Jamie Zigelbaum states in the video, “Jewelry displays and window displays are so pristine and untouchable and you see all these beautiful things in there, but how could you let the people outside the store interact with the stuff inside the store, in a way that allowed you to extend your body into the window.”
Originally published on The Creators Project. Republished with kind permission.