These 13 projection mapping demos will blow your mind

Transform anything into a screen with the burgeoning art of projection mapping. Here are 13 of the best...

A few years ago video projection mapping was a fledgling artform, with a handful of noteworthy examples. Now, no building opening, product launch, award ceremony, or birthday party worth its salt would be seen without a head-turning projection.

Video projection mapping has the capacity to transform any object into a screen. Forget flat projection, as projection mapping has the ability to take a real-world object, such as a building, and project onto its walls without any distortion. Events combine motion graphics, 3D animation, and an occasional dash of video that playfully highlights, deconstructs, rotates, recontextualises and generally manipulates a building's usual geometry.

Scale awing

Often site-specific, the best work enhances rather than effaces the architecture it's projected onto. The sheer scale can be breathtaking and the illusion of everyday and static objects around us becoming animate and playfully reworked can be incredibly exciting. Just look at the expressions on the audience's faces during a projection and you see an almost childlike glee.

We've picked our favourite examples of projection mapping that you must see, ranging from micro projections on the petals of a flower, to an incredible display the full height of the Sagrada Familia.

01. Battersea Power Station Annual Party

Battersea Power Station invited Drive, a UK-based agency that specialises in projection mapping, to create an awe-inspiring visual experience to raise awareness for the iconic building's spectacular redevelopment. This is the result: 360,000 lumens of immersive visuals celebrating the building's past, present and future.

02. Tokyo Station Vision

(Projection starts at 4:20)

JR East celebrates the opening of the reconditioned Tokyo Station with a spectacular projection mapping experiment by NHK Enterprise. Brickwork peels away to reveal pistons; clockwork automata strum pilasters while trumpets and cymbals blow and crash from behind bays; at one point a route-map inscribes itself across the facade like a 150m long game of Snake.

This is a great projection, sympathetic not only to the architectonics of the building, but its function too. 

03. The 600 Years

When Prague's famous Astronomical Clock turned 600, The Macula and Tomato Productions created a projection mapping for the tower celebrating its history. Starting with the architect's plans, the animation charts the construction of the clock and key moments in Prague's history. The final effect is part spectacle, part documentary and a brilliant executed combination of medieval architecture and modern technology.

04. Box

This video from Bot & Dolly was created without any special effects. As the performer engages with a morphing set, unfathomable shapes, graphics and animations are revealed. As the video continues, we're eventually shown that it is in fact, a robotic mechanism hidden behind every illusion. Using their state of the art robotic camera systems 'Iris' and 'Scout', the technique allows for millimeter precision of the robot arms.

05. Hyper Matrix Cube Wall

Not content with mere projection mapping, Korean art group JônPaSang created 8m x 45m walls made from hundreds of motorised Styrofoam blocks for a Hyundai Motor Group pavilion. Each foot-square cube is capable of independent motion to create patterns, pictures, and animations in relief.

That's not all, Hyper-Matrix uses 180 degree projection interacting with the blocks, and light effects that track and coalesce around the audience.

Watch this! Making-of video:

06. Speed of Light

Not all projection mapping examples can be measured in metres. The Theory's personal project Speed of Light bills itself as the worlds smallest all action police chase. Using hand-held micro projectors with an iPhone video source, Tom Jenkins and Simon Sharp create a dynamic and witty film on the surface of their own office that proves size isn't everything.

07. As Above, So Below

Light Harvest assembled a whole team of artists for this unusual mapping for Manhattan Bridge. The animation makes great use of the heavily rusticated facade of the bridge but where it really shines is in the tunnels underneath. The entire curved ceiling becomes animated, when entering the tunnel the audience becomes immersed in the projection. 

Next page: more mind-bending projection mapping art!