The Antonio Canova Gipsoteca Museum, located in Possagno, Italy, aimed to incorporate immersive technologies in an exhibition showcasing work of Italian Neoclassical sculptor, Antonio Canova. The exhibition, titled “Canova | George Washington”, would feature the only work performed by Canova for America, a life-sized bust of George Washington, the first US President. Since the full-sized original Washington statue was tragically destroyed in a fire, Canova’s proprietary plaster models and sketches were to be displayed along with interactive digital experiences for guests. The immersive experience would permit exhibit designers to showcase Canova’s “lost” works and to give a historical storyline behind some of Canova’s sculptures.
Interiors3D, led by Andrea Bortolot, was selected to develop 3D models of Canova’s large statues. They were also tasked will organizing the 3D models in easy-to-navigate touchscreen experiences that could be accessed on digital totems placed throughout the exhibition.
Additional installations designed by Interiors3D:
Interiors3D specializes in creating immersive virtual tour experiences, but the rigorous space and time requirements were a challenge in this project. While Bortolot would need to present the experience on a digital display large enough to be viewed by many guests at one time, the touchscreen would need to have appropriate dimensions to fit in the entrances of the restored building.
With the exhibition set to launch in November of 2018, Bortolot faced a strict deadline and needed to work efficiently to develop quality interactive experiences in a short, 2-month timeframe.
The 3D models and virtual tour visuals would be captured using Matterport 3D cameras and technology. BortInteriors3D would need to organize the 3D renders in an intuitive way. With no coding experience and the strict deadline, they were determined to develop touch experiences without learning code.
One of the most substantial challenges was adding complex 3D models that had been scanned. The data and size of these files were significant and could cause performance issues.
Bartolot also needed to securely store 3D visuals and high-resolution images of historical documents in a cloud database. The sensitive documents needed to be reasonably protected and easily accessed by Interiors3D for potential repurposing at future exhibitions.
Andrea procured 10 touch screens which would be positioned across two rooms in the exhibit space. These digital displays were a mix of 55” and 46” Elo touchscreens, both of which would fit reasonably in the space without jeopardizing interaction by multiple guests at any given time.
Bortolot also consulted Paolo Tosolini of Tosolini Productions, an expert in the development of AR/VR experiences for many of the world’s biggest brands. Tosolini suggested the use of Intuiface for development of the touch interaction because no coding experience was necessary to create compelling interactive visuals.
Bortolot said, “Aside from the ability to create inspirational experiences without coding, the biggest benefit of using Intuiface was the ability to add the complex, textured 3D models of the large statues we had scanned for the project. Intuiface fully supports 3D model assets.”
Once Bortolot began exploring Intuiface as a potential design suite, he found that experiences could be easily tested and run on the Elo touch displays. Intuiface also enabled an accelerated project delivery timeline thanks to its easy-to-use design tools.
By using Intuiface’s native Excel support, Interiors3D was able to effectively organize the visuals and present them in a way that users would navigate with ease.
Intuiface’s cloud storage option allowed him to store the experience and associated visual assets in a secure account-protected way. The images, videos, and 3D scans used in the experience could be accessed and managed remotely. This enabled Bortolot to protect the high-value visuals and access them quickly for repurposing in the future.
Bortolot credits Intuiface for delivery of a cutting-edge experience. He said, “Intuiface enabled us to insert this valuable and historic content that had been buried in several archives. With it, we could present a variety of media content including drafts of statues, contracts, personal notes and more. It enabled us to digitally tell a never-before-shared story.”
The “Canova | George Washington” exhibition and interactive experiences launched on November 11, 2018 and will be featured through April 28, 2019. Like never before, the Museum of Antonio Canova has been able to immerse guests in the historical and artistic value of Canova’s work.
“The interactive content brings a wow factor and transforms the experience. It allows art and history enthusiasts to explore larger-than-life statues and protected documents in unprecedented ways,” said Bortolot. “Guests are going deeper into Antonio’s work and passion. Not only are they able to explore the beautifully-crafted sculptures, but they are also able to uncover his motivation, plans, process and the most intricate, high-definition details of each work of art.”
Alongside exhibit developers, Bortolot was able to use the Intuiface platform to organize 3d models and sketches in an immersive digital story. This experience has successfully demonstrated the extraordinary life and work of a world-renowned 18th-century artist.
Interiors3D plans to repurpose the hardware, visual content and layout of the experience for use at the official Antonio Canova Gipsoteca Museum and future exhibits. Andrea Bortolot has also gone on to produce a number of interactive experiences for other museums familiar with the exhibition and its successful use of interactive digital exhibits.