LAB's Toolbox

At Rockwell Group we have a special team called the LAB. These strategists, technologists, and designers understand the importance of virtual worlds within the physical ones. They turn data into spectacles, and the results tell stories and transform moods. Bring them your crazy dream. "We'll always figure it out," they say, and we wonder how? Happily, the LAB agreed to show us a handful of the tools they're working with.

How does the LAB get from inspiration to idea?

The LAB has a demo bay where it can mock up projects (always something interesting going on in there). Here, they were comparing the color and resolution of LED screens.

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. For one project, DIY electronics allow users to toggle between data points. On a wall of high-tech gadgets, these boxes are the most popular.

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset helps the LAB visualize materials and content. Most importantly, it let's them get a sense for motion at scale.

How do you experience a world that doesn't yet exist (and design for it)?

For Rockwell Group's TED2014 pop-up theater in Vancouver, the Oculus helped the LAB determine the dimensions of the stage and where people would sit.

“We never do anything with technology for technology’s sake. It always has a point of view.”

Melissa Hoffman, Studio Leader

Sketches, from rough to beautifully rendered, document and present an aesthetic.

Bodystorming: Not an Extreme Sport

For all of their trafficking in the virtual, the LAB's projects are very real. Bodystorming—improvising what it would be like to actually experience a projection in a hotel lobby, say—helps the LAB tweak anything that feels strange, distracting, or unwieldy.

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