Smart Canvas WOW “Factory and Fantasy” report 3/3

At Smart Canvas, we aspire to have time experienced visually, in contrast to the watches this far. As we began to design the product, we started by also considering those who normally do not wear watches. Now that we can substitute the time keeping function with a cellular phone, a value, besides the fundamental purpose of “learning time,” is demanded in watches. We feel that Smart Canvas is a product that answers this need.
“Factory and Fantasy” is an original piece deigned by WOW in 2009. It was a monochromatic image installation of detailed scenes of a factory and a fantastical world. It depicted a gentle interchange between the projection of fantastical images on the product placed in front of the screen and the alteration of images in response to the audience’s movement. The Smart Canvas visually incorporates silhouettes, but also this blending of ideas. We aimed for a design, that is established by the relationship between the product and the user.
The time expression component incorporates a story, with “a city with a clock tower” at it’s central core, the story depicts a travel through a fantastical world in a day. Based on this setting, we planned to expand the world view from the theme, “people in this town are…”. “The city awakens with the sound of a rooster…,” “there are people heading to work…,” “there are days that rain…” In this way, the key visual components were developed to represent the state of the city. Furthermore, we searched for a production that shares links to the real world. For example, when it is raining in the real world, it is also raining in the city of Factory and Fantasy. A mere coincidence, perhaps, but this kind of a small synchronization gives the user a pleasant surprise.
In the evening, the image of the city pulls away, thereby making the clock tower seem a bit smaller. This represents a gradual release from the busy time of the day. This form of presentation is enabled by the use of electronic paper, where the sense of time is felt through a visual presentation, rather than a traditional “clock.”
In the actual design work, we produced a scroll-like, panoramic graphics of the city. When it is scrolled across at a set pace, it gives an impression that the scenery is periodically changing. During the production, we worked with the recreated images of the actual appearance. In this way, we prevented awkwardness of each frame and verified the progression of time through animation. By isolating the still images from it, we created each graphic like a frame on a film. The expression of the city’s continuous flow of time was born through this creation process.
On the hour, the story line depicted on the EPD panel matches with the design on the band. By connecting the band with the story, the product itself becomes one graphical representation, thereby allowing the world of Factory and Fantasy to come out of the screen and expand. This type of interplay, between the digital and the real world, is scattered everywhere.
After a series of designs, we came to realize that this process encompassed the essence of WOW, which is the image expression. Primarily, there is a worldly view, and by maneuvering within it using an image expression, we are able to create an overall unity and seamless representation. This distinctive characteristic can also be seen in KDDI’s “Smart TV Box,” in which WOW had a large role in 2012.
On the home UI of “Smart TV Box,” the users can peruse through the contents within the UI space. By eliminating the division between the scenes, a natural transition is established, thereby allowing a seamless movement.
The expression on the electronic paper is a graphic that changes every minute. During production, there was an awkwardness with this unusual expression of an image, that is not really like an image, however, in practice, we found many advantages. It enables instantaneous verification of time, has increased visibility through infrequent movements, and provides a more profound sense of time through the slowly changing background.
The task to deconstruct image expression to create a serial graphics was challenging. However, the piece turned out to be a successful fusion of WOW’s expression techniques, the platform and technology of electronic paper by Seiko Epson, and the collaborative relationships of both companies.