A chandelier that knows your face: prestige in a retail environment?

At the London Design Festival this year I came across an amazing innovative installation at Design Junction; the Nomad chandelier by lighting designer Beau McClellan.

It is a huge, modern chandelier which shimmers into different colours. It is also interactive, incorporating facial recognition technology.

Nomad is a small sample of Beau McClennan’s  Reflective Flow light installation in Doha, Qatar – the largest chandelier in the world. Made of 2,300 optical crystals and 55,000 LEDs, it weighs in at a hefty 20 tonnes. It also combines motion sensors to allow the chandelier to mirror the mood of its surroundings.

Nomad also recognises your mood. For example, if you smile up at the lights their colours will change. I asked the polite gentleman at the stand at Design Junction what it would do if you frowned – he wasn’t sure. (Perhaps it would sulkily turn itself off).

Reflective Flow by Beau McClennan

Both chandeliers take ‘premium’ to the extreme; Reflective Flow especially is luxe, monumental. It got me thinking how something on a similar scale to Nomad could be used in high-end retail environments. Consumers expect an experience beyond the norm – this would certainly provide it.

Tech for the sake of tech can feel gimmicky, whereas Nomad is tasteful and mesmerisingly beautiful. Tailoring the retail environment to the mood of the customer adds an extra degree of prestige. Judging the customer’s mood, the chandelier could help soothe or invigorate them.

The potential of facial recognition technology for retail and other forms of marketing is obviously huge. Automatically tailoring and targeting messages more precisely to various demographics is the marketeer’s dream.

There are already many great examples of facial recognition technology in interactive marketing. Take, for example, Unilever’s Share Happy vending machine – smile wide enough and you get a free ice cream. Or Adidas partnering with Intel to test digital walls in their stores which tailor ads to consumers, recognising their age and gender and adapting the screen accordingly.

Whether for the mass or high-end market, the use of facial technology for retail has huge potential. We have only seen the start. Or it has only just seen us… but already judged our age and gender.


4 thoughts on “A chandelier that knows your face: prestige in a retail environment?

  1. Wow I’ve never seen anything like that, but it seems to me the sort of thing which could catch on very quickly! But it’s like all technology: what’s amazing and innovative today, wonderful though it is, will seem to future generations to be archaic and old hat. However, that does not detract from the beauty of those chandeliers.

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