Bloomingdale’s flagship Manhattan location on 59th Street recently launched its “Carousel @ Bloomingdale’s” pop-up shop to give customers a uniquely curated retail experience, where two floor-to-ceiling video walls immerse shoppers in a thematic visual landscape, created by award-winning Montreal design studio Float4.
According to Float4 founder and creative director Alexandre Simionescu, “The goal is to create a meticulously curated environment that draws shoppers in with awe-inspiring visuals and ambiance. In a normal retail environment, digital content is typically an add-on that supports existing sales displays and decor. At the Carousel, it is the decor. High-definition video walls encompass the entire area; shoppers find themselves immersed in a standalone boutique, surrounded by commodities related to the season’s theme.”
The Carousel’s inaugural theme was titled Urban Explorer and it featured carefully curated products including stylish bicycle helmets, electronics, personal care items, luggage and more. To encapsulate the “urban explorer” aesthetic, Float4 captured live footage throughout New York City and “urban explorers” wearing and using some of the theme’s stand-out products.
Float4 will develop six pieces of content for the Carousel’s first year, demonstrating the studio’s dexterity with digital media production techniques, such as mixing live action footage and real-time graphics. Each piece will be approximately 10 minutes long, allowing customers to experience an entire storyline while shopping.
This project also highlighted Float4’s mastery of digital media technology, requiring specialized equipment and meticulous planning to produce content for dynamic display ratios and resolutions. For the launch of the Urban Explorer theme, each video wall consisted of 25 ultra-thin 55” LG displays in a 5x5 configuration. With the inauguration of the current theme, each wall received an additional 10 displays, resulting in 7x5 video walls that measure 10 feet high by 35 feet wide.
“The Urban Explorer content required different equipment and planning than the others will, so we want to use the right content production technique to support the creative of each capsule we develop,” Simionescu added. “Our experience working with the latest cameras, software and rendering tools enables us to create any type of content for any type of display, no matter the technology, resolution or aspect ratio.”
The Float4 production team researched specific camera gear in order to optimize the resulting presentation on the video walls, taking into consideration color depth, frame rates, and slow-motion capabilities.
Since its construction, The Carousel has been a hit; Bloomingdale’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Frank Berman proclaims that it delivers a shopping experience unmatched by any other store.
"As the retail landscape changes, we continually seek innovative ways to engage our customer," Berman said. “The Carousel allows Bloomingdale's to regularly offer up new products, new brands and an original immersive experience, all tied to a timely and engaging theme. The engulfing screens create a cocoon-like feel, virtually transporting guests to new destinations, while the combination of unexpected product, unique shopping environment and engaging experiences makes the Carousel like no other pop-up shop in the world.”
According to Bloomingdale's, the Carousel feels like a standalone boutique, and will have a dedicated entrance located on 60th Street between 3rd Avenue and Lexington Avenue. Each theme and piece of accompanying Float4 content will last two months, with guest experts curating product selections.
“What’s great about this project is we get to do it six times over the next year. We’re given wide creative latitude to deliver the ultimate shopping experience,” Simionescu added. “Bloomingdale’s has created a truly unique retail concept, and we are thrilled to be their content development partner.”
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