SMTown COEX: a giant 3D wave spreads in the Gangnam district of South Korea

SMTown COEX: a giant 3D wave spreads in the Gangnam district of South Korea

Written by Karina Tsui, CNN

Beach holidays may seem like a distant memory during the coronavirus blocks, but in Seoul’s Gangnam district, the ocean has arrived in the city.

A giant wave appeared on the LED facade of the city’s SMTown COEX building, the largest digital billboard in South Korea. The anamorphic illusion rises before crashing onto the screen surface, making the two-dimensional wraparound display look more similar to a large tank.

Appearing exactly for one minute every hour, the simulation is so realistic that it seems that the water is about to spill over the heads of people crossing the busy commercial square.

Entitled “WAVE”, the project was designed by d’strict, a company specializing in the use of immersive technology to create public art. The project took four months to run from start to finish, including three months of digital design work to ensure that the desired effect is achieved.

“We want to create overwhelming experiences,” said Jun Lee, director of business development at d’strict. “The waves are beautiful and dynamic in themselves, but we have chosen them as a subject because they evoke feelings of comfort, which are now very necessary.”

Social media split over whether it was relaxing or stressful. A user compared it within a washing machine while another reflected that he was like a “quarantined sea.”

The screen, which measures 80 by 20 meters (262 by 66 feet), is a popular platform for advertising brands, K-pop videos and, more recently, digital art installations.

The creative project is the latest addition to d’strict’s portfolio, which includes commercial works and outdoor installations, for customers such as Samsung and LG.

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This summer, d’strict is expected to launch an indoor theme park inspired by art and technology on the island of Jeju, with a holographic theater among other anamorphic spaces.

This article has been updated to reflect the inspiration behind d’strict’s upcoming venture.

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