July 16, 2020 by Loanna Overcash

Launched in 2019, the AV Experience Awards are the first in our industry to award “not just technically impressive but purposeful, engagement-driven” solutions across vertical markets,” says Pamela Taggart, CTS®, Senior Director of Strategic Relationships at AVIXA®. During InfoComm 2020 Connected, Taggart hosted the 2020 award winners in a discussion about the philosophies, challenges, and technologies behind their award-winning projects.

The following provides highlights from the session, including a list of the award categories, and a brief description of each winning project.

For more details on the awards and each project, go to: https://avxawards.avixa.org/.

Best Collaborative Experience

Klarman Hall at Harvard Business School
Boston, Massachusetts

Klarman Hall at Harvard Business School | AVIXA Klarman Hall at Harvard Business School

According to Idibri Managing Director Craig Janssen, the Klarman Hall project leverages the Harvard Business School’s 100+ year old tradition of the case study method – where a professor guides students through the learning process by engaging them in a continuous, interactive dialogue and idea exchange. Wanting to scale up the experience for larger audiences, the dean of Harvard wanted to use technology to “create instantaneous engagement and dialogue,” said Janssen. “The entire team wanted it to operate more like improvisational comedy where the audience is directing content.”

This required a voice lift system to allow anyone speaking at a normal voice to be heard anywhere in the room and figuring out how to shift control from the stage to the audience without delay. “The video aspect of this project has its own level of sophistication that allows engagement and collaboration as well,” said Janssen.

Best Dynamic Art Experience (Tie)

Tours globally

Sviatovid Sculpture by BARTKRESA Studio | AVIXA Sviatovid Sculpture by BARTKRESA Studio

Sviatovid is a 15-foot-tall, 360-degree projection map sculpture inspired by a ninth century Slavic God and a medieval sculpture. As a traveling exhibit, “it is important that the sculpture be polished for each unique space,” said panelist, Ilana Marks, Creative Producer with BARTKRESA. “This is achieved by working directly with every client to understand the individuality of the space.”

For its scheduled tour stop at the LUMA Festival for Projection Arts in Binghamton, New York, BARTKRESA engaged its Academy of Projection Design students in the process of designing to the space. Students were challenged to apply their studies in projection design to an 1800s iconic church that featured a spire, pipe organ, and stained glass.

The results? “People were surprised at how connected they felt to a piece that wasn’t made in Binghamton and how it really captured the spirit of the building and the community,” said Marks.

Best Dynamic Art Experience (Tie) and Best In-Person Experience

DATAGATE: NASA AI Astronomical Sculpture
Nanjing, China
Ouchhh Studio

DATAGATE: NASA AI Astronomical Sculpture | AVIXA DATAGATE: NASA AI Astronomical Sculpture

DATAGATE is an immersive data sculpture exhibit that allows observation and exploration of exoplanets – or planets that orbit around stars. The permanent 15-ton, 360 LED installation uses AI and NASA’s Kepler Data astronomical research to immerse visitors into the world of space discovery.

“We are always trying to find a new way to describe art in a new language – a mixed reality using different mediums,” said panelist Ferdi Alici Eylul, Creative Director and Founder of Ouchhh Studio. “We explore boundaries of art by researching relationships between architecture, art, science, technology, AI, and new media arts.”

When commissioned by China’s government to create a unique, living architectural installation for the public, the studio put this philosophy to work by collaborating with NASA astrophysicist Dawn Gelino and a team of experts across three continents to produce the DATAGATE project.

Best Individualized Experience

Yogi Berra Museum
Montclair, New Jersey
TRITECH Communications

Yogi Berra Museum by TRITECH Communications | AVIXA Yogi Berra Museum by TRITECH Communications

The Yogi Berra Museum pays homage to the good nature, humor, and humility of famed New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra.

TRITECH Communications collaborated with exhibit designer Responsive Spaces, to create the “PITCH!” stimulation exhibit – an immersive experience where visitors can throw pitches at an animated batter and catcher. Based on the throw and speed of the pitch, the umpire responds with a “strike” or “ball” call, along with a “Yogi-ism,” such as “it ain’t over till it’s over.”

“We had to incorporate a lot of technologies along with the standard videowall – a lot of customization and unique solutions to meet customer requests – from an integrated radar system to determine the pitch, all the way down to the kind of netting you would see behind home plate on a baseball field,” said panelist Kevin Pelepako, CTS, Senior Project Manager for TRITECH Communications. To get the reinforced glass clear enough and protective enough so balls can be lobbed at it hard enough. The physical exhibition around the AV.”

Some of the challenges the team faced included determining which type of ball to use to provide the most accurate experience and what type of glass to protect the videowall. The final product is a fun, safe, and portable exhibit that is appropriate for all age and experience levels.

Best Flexible Space Experience

Qatar University’s Sports and Events Complex
Doha, Qatar
Techno Q

Qatar University's Sports and Events Complex | AVIXA Qatar University's Sports and Events Complex

The Sports and Events Complex is a 25,500-square-meter flexible space that features the country’s largest retractable ceiling in addition to scalable rigging, portable staging, and other features. Using a mix of technologies, this multifunctional space can scale up for a 5,000-person sporting event or down for a 900-person banquet.

“The biggest challenge was time,” said panelist Abdulla Al Ansari, Executive Director and co-founder of Techno Q. “We had 9 months to design and commission the system. From scratch, 9 months to construct the whole thing.”

Best Immersive Experience

Copenhagen, Denmark
Audio-Visuelt Centrum A/S

Alchemist Restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark | AVIXA Alchemist Restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark

The dining experience at restaurant Alchemist in Copenhagen, Denmark, seeks to transport its guests beyond taste and smell – into places such as the sea or under the Northern Lights. Created by Audio-Visuelt Centrum A/S, this immersive dining experience involves a domed ceiling, 10 projectors and audio distribution.

As panelist Frederik Berg Rodbro, CTS and Project Manager of Audio-Visuelt Centrum A/S, describes, the experience takes place over a 5-6 hour timeframe and 50-course meal. “The biggest challenges in approaching this project were mainly getting the ideas out of the client’s head and putting them into action. “

Watch the full session: Tips, Pivotal Elements, and Experience Design Roadmaps from 2020 AVX Award Winners

About Loanna Overcash

Loanna Overcash is an AVIXA Standards Developer. A writer and editor with 20 years’ experience, she has supported standards and other publications for subjects ranging from nuclear engineering, accounting, international healthcare, and security management. When not immersed in all things AV, she and her husband divide duties as personal servants to their 11 year old boy and 10 year old dog. You can reach her at lovercash@avixa.org.