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Videoworks and Samsung take fashion into the future at Fashion Research Italy

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Videoworks and Samsung take fashion into the future at Fashion Research Italy
Videoworks and Samsung take fashion into the future at Fashion Research Italy

The Bologna based foundation Fashion Research Italy, brainchild of Alberto Masotti (ex-owner of La Perla Group), is the new hub for fashion history, education and innovation. The foundation’s objective is to use modern technologies to valorize styling’s legacy and history, so important for Italian design, and project them into the future. The 21,000 LED installation and multimedia catwalk created by Videoworks, in collaboration with Samsung, are the perfect example.
The multimedia catwalk, located at the entrance to the second building of the 7,000 square meter Foundation campus, is made up of eight 85” Samsung OH85F monitors that greet visitors on their way in, emerging them in the prospective of a virtual passarella.
 
The installation created by Videoworks, in addition to the eight exterior grade monitors, also includes a close to 1,000 watt sound system. The portrait mode monitors are set up as a single 16 million pixel screen, emerging the Foundation’s visitors in virtual catwalks that appear as authentic fashion shows.
 
“The virtual catwalk immediately became the priority in the range of ideas that we were presented with by FRI” explains Juri Tartaglini, Videoworks Business System Engineer and project leader. “In creating the multimedia sets, we thought of using either beamers or monitors. The monitors, which at the time could only be used indoors, would also have needed custom made housings to protect them from the elements and assure that the images were visible even under direct sunlight. Technology came to our aid however, as just when we had to decide among the various options, Samsung put the OH85F onto the market, and the new monitor didn’t even need to be modified. So we managed to grab the first units available and we installed them, having only to worry about the aesthetics and the support mountings.”

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Tartaglini explained that the choice of Samsung was also dictated by the fact that the hardware must be used with MagicInfo stage management software. “Our idea was that the monitors would always be kept on, not just during events or virtual shows. As they are always on, even during normal daily life, they add value to the area where they are placed – so we gave the monitors a dual function. With a daily schedule it’s possible to project any type of image or video - the logo of the Foundation, websites, or information material. The campus is open primarily during the day, but the screens are guaranteed for 24 hour work cycles.”
 
The choice of creating a catwalk with this twin function also effected the audio department: “We installed two exterior speakers that selectively play the audio of the contents simultaneously projected onto the eight screens, and then, in the rafters, placed recessed diffusers for each monitor, to create an independent sound zone for each display.”
The control room for the multimedia catwalk, the nerve center of the entire structure, is also connected to the “Icona di Donna” installation, another important visual attraction that was created by Senso Immersive Experience from Padua.  The LED installation recreates a feminine silhouette out of 21,120 LED’s, placed inside 5,300 spheres, that come alive with the music and create graphic motives, inspired by some of the 30,000 drawings on paper and fabric from the Renzo Brandone collection, stored in FRI’s controlled environment vaults.
 
The “Icona di Donna”, the multimedia catwalk and all the remaining areas can also be controlled by tablets using the Videoworks App. During events and fashion shows, the tablets can be used by hostesses and welcome personnel. “One hundred percent of the area, inside and out, has wi-fi coverage, with a signal generated by a fully redundant glass fiber internet connection”, said Gianluca Giudotti, head of IT, Business & Innovation at Fashion Research Italy.

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