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Digital Art Installation Turns Historic NYC Building Into an Ocean Liner

By Christine H. O'Toole

Aug 27, 2018

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The Cunard Building goes from classic architecture to digital canvas in Moment Factory’s new show.

Courtesy of Moment Factory

The Cunard Building goes from classic architecture to digital canvas in Moment Factory’s new show.

The innovative Montreal-based company Moment Factory transforms public and private spaces into digital art pieces around the world.

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What did it feel like to adventure to New York City by cruise ship in 1921? Now you can imagine the experience in a vast new digital installation in the Financial District’s historic Cunard Building. Moment Factory, the multimedia studio that’s created powerful light-and-soundscapes at places like Singapore’s Changi Airport, Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Bridge, Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia, and the Ottowa Underground, unveils its latest spectacular in a Lower Manhattan partnership with international hospitality brand Cipriani.

Moment Factory reinvents public spaces by digging deep into their character, using elements of the place itself to help tell an immersive story. From 1921 to 1968, the Cunard steamship line had used the lobby of its building at 25 Broadway, designed by architect Benjamin Wistar Morris, as a ticketing hall, using grand imagery representing a voyage at sea. The history of the landmark inspired Moment to create a digital ocean liner inside the building, dubbed D.S. DestiNY. During the 22-minute show, visitors move through a dreamscape that suggests travel through time and space.

“Everyone has a dream of what New York is. Our show is an ode to these dreams: what people will find and do there, and how these dreams contribute, over time, to making the city what it is,” said Catherine Turp, creative partner at Moment, based in Montreal.


The installation leaves the physical structure untouched. Instead, the 65-foot-high vaulted walls of the building become a 360° high-resolution canvas for visual effects, video mapping, and 3D interactive storytelling. 

In the preshow, visitors scan a “boarding pass” that allows them to explore four installations that Moment factory has dubbed “Dream Portals.” In “Dreams of NYC,” they glimpse the memories and dreams of travelers that foreshadow scenes revealed in the show. “Routes to NYC” maps transatlantic routes with optical illusions, winds, and sea currents. A scan at “Visitors Dreams” triggers a golden cascade of accumulated dreams from the rotunda’s center dome, and a photo booth adds filters to visitors’ selfies that then become a part of the communal experience. And that’s all before the program actually begins.

Although Moment Factory has gained an international reputation for designing high-tech multimedia experiences in public places, the goal for each project is simple: to bring people together.

Tickets for D.S. DestiNY range from $19 to $29; shows run at a variety of dates and times.

>>Next: Tokyo’s New Digital Art Museum Is Designed to Blow Your Mind

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