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    Photo credit: Credit: DCL

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    Photo credit: Credit: DCL

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    Photo credit: Credit: DCL

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    Photo credit: Credit: DCL

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    Photo credit: Credit: DCL

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    Photo credit: Credit: DCL


The world’s first ever guitar-shaped hotel

Georgina Johnston
06 Dec 2019

Rock and roll: the grand opening of Tampa's Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

In a project managed, directed, engineered and installed by DCL (Design Communications Ltd), Float4, a creative agency based in Montreal specializing in the integration of digital experiences into physical space, designed and produced the digital light spectacle for the grand opening of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa.

Float4 has also designed two more daily shows for the hotel’s LED facade.

A first in the global hotel and leisure industry, the 400-ft tall guitar-shaped hotel is part of a property expansion estimated at $1.5 billion.

For this project, Float4 assembled a creative team to develop, produce and integrate generative and sound reactive content for the front-facing facade of the Guitar Hotel.

Float4 wanted each show to have a purpose, namely a narrative and a theme that evoked emotional responses in the audience. The shows will be a testament to how music has been instrumental in defining the legacy of Hard Rock hotels, restaurants and entertainment properties around the world.

The front facade of the hotel is both a media system and a dynamic sculpture, the building is lined with 16,800 V-Sticks (video fixtures using high-performance LEDs), which serve as a screen and stage to daily musical showcases. During a show, each V-Stick will light up with different colours, speeds, patterns or directions, depending on the content sequence the team designed.

Float4 worked with DCL and SACO Technologies, a pioneer company dedicated to advancing solid-state LED technology in applications with lighting and media, to program and choreograph the shows.

A 3D CAD model of the hotel was created to pixel map each individual V-Stick, including its position on the building, the direction it was facing, and its signal flow. The team needed to create a lookup table that the 4 Karat RealMotion server could use to sample content from the model and output to the building itself. Using a parsing script written by Float4’s software developer, those components, which amounted to about 2 million pieces of data, were converted into usable data strings, so that the team could choreograph content that corresponded to the building’s existing technical infrastructure. Converting the data one by one would have taken about four years to finish. 

Before a show, we have a moment where the installation is in a dormant state; the lights are ambient, fluid. At that moment, we want guests to be able to congregate in anticipation, collectively anticipating the start of the show. When in Las Vegas, people make their way over to the Bellagio Fountain Show and there’s this brief period where time stands still in eagerness as everyone gathers for this one monumental experience. That’s the feeling we want to create with the shows; we want to create a moment for Hard Rock guests and fans to come together and watch a daily celebration.

Antoine Saint-Maur, Multimedia Director at Float4

Owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is one of the largest and most successful casinos in the world offering award-winning gaming, hospitality and entertainment.

The casino features nearly 5,000 slot machines, 179 table games and a state-of-the-art Poker Room featuring 46 tables. Additionally, the property offers a smoke-free Mezzanine Level Casino.

The hotel is AAA Four Diamond rated and the property proudly offers seven award-winning restaurants.

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