Midnight Commercial has been an innovation partner for Cartier since 2010. Together, we’ve pushed the boundaries of user experience through event-specific installations and activations at Cartier’s flagship boutique, the historic Mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City. With every project, our work weaves the rich legacy of the luxury brand into cutting edge, polished implementations that bridge the physical and digital universes.
For our first project together, we created the Timepiece Explorer—a custom, gestural installation for browsing videos of Cartier’s fine watchmaking. Debuting at Fast Company’s 2010 Most Creative People event in New York, the installation was designed to be both excitingly novel but also simple enough so that anyone could immediately understand how to use it. Through the use of research-level optical hull sensing technologies, we created a video control interface operated by movements of the hand in mid-air. The videos in the installation flowed like a stream of water—lateral motions let users push through time as if video itself were a physical substance bound by the dynamics of mass, inertia, and friction.
Following on the success of this project, we created our first holiday window display for their Mansion on Fifth Avenue—Reach. Reach breaks the window’s boundary with an elegant and invisible technology to allow pedestrians to magically extend their bodies into the jewelry displays. Through this installation, the typical window shopper becomes a conductor of movement and transformation. A slight move of the hand in front of the windows controls a spotlight that shines down on boxes—whenever a spotlight shone on one of the iconic Cartier jewelry boxes in the display, the box would robotically open, revealing the contents inside. We designed, prototyped, and engineered this solution using sophisticated LIDAR sensors that could track people outdoors, even in New York City snowstorms. Custom electronics and mechanically engineered animatronics completed the experience. In this way, visitors were able to virtually “touch” the jewelry, breaking through the barrier of the typical jewelry store window.
Ever since these initial projects, we have continuously delivered on evermore compelling experiences that bridge the physical and digital universes, encouraging more visitors to stop and appreciate the Cartier experience.