We are living in a rapidly changing world, where innovation is the key to success. Part of being innovative is also imagining the future – exploring ideas for what might be, and how we will live, work and meet beyond what we know today. This is a context where digital technology not only allows us to produce our own work, but also brings us together to form a community of people in public spaces throughout the city. The Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) aspires to become an integrated business and entertainment hub of international profile with a comprehensive vision for digital technologies integrated into the built masterplan, and a digital platform that will support the various digital services the center, as well as the city, will demand. Carlo Ratti Associati worked with the Portman Holdings and a team of expert professionals, including Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), to develop the digital masterplan vision for MBCC. The Portman-CMC team is one of two development groups currently bidding to develop the 52-acre MBCC District.
Driven by the idea that citizens should be able to shape their environment directly, CRA developed an interface between the physical and the digital world for interaction between the convention center, visitors and the local inhabitants, the Cool Light Canopy. A 3-dimensional matrix that provides shading and cooling, it contains responsive lighting elements, whilst at the same time functioning as a display and a way-finding system. The Cool Light Canopy is generated by a mesh of elements. By hanging a series of these strips it is possible to generate a 3D matrix that is bound to a light cable structure without the need for rigid structures at the base. It is scalable, adaptable and uses a LED technology that is commercially available today. The Cool Light Canopy functions both as a communication display for convention center news and events, as well as a civic-interface for inhabitants and visitors. In the canopy’s display system, the patterns of its animated pixelated skins offer a civic-scale interface of real-time information.