Throughout September 2014 as part of the RIBA Regent Street Windows Project, all 8 windows of the Karen Millen Regent Street store façade hosted the EKM Works’ “Grace” – an installation inspired by the Karen Millen A/W14 campaign. “Grace” brings the KM woman to life and illustrates a 25 metre long abstraction of movement, dynamism and travel.
A series of Karen Millen mannequins was positioned in sequence to describe the actions of “Grace” throughout her journey across London. The positioned mannequins were then captured using a 3D scanner. Once the scans had been created, the meshes were imported into 3D animation software. Each mesh was ‘rigged’ and animated to form a dynamic sequence of movements which trace the metropolitan journey. Each frame of the 3D animation was then sliced and projected onto a series of gently rotating planes to generate an undulating array of silhouettes; a three dimensional storyboard.
The array of Silhouettes gently rotates in plan as the 3D storyboard progresses along the window. The dressed mannequins appear to pop out of the sequence at specific points along the journey. The rotation angles of the silhouettes are designed to align with the positioned mannequins from viewing points along Princes Street and Regent Street.
Each silhouette was digitally fabricated using a CNC cutter. This method of fabrication enabled precise cutting of the outline and accurate placement of fixing points. The irregular shapes were neatly nested onto standard sized sheets of plywood to minimise wastage. The silhouette array is split into sections on a per-window basis. This enables each section to be pre-fabricated and hung prior to transporting to the store, thus significantly reducing on-site installation time.
There are 137 silhouettes in total – The silhouettes are hung from a total of 273,777mm worth of steel cable – That’s nearly 300 metres – The animation which generated the installation lasts for 274 frames – That’s 1 silhouette for every other frame – That equates to approx. 11 seconds worth of animation (when played at 24.9 frames per second).