Designer Niklas Roy decided to create a new way to draw attention to one empty storefront in Sherbrooke, a city in southern Quebec. Inside, he put a huge “For Rent” sign on a motorized track that stretched across the length of the window. He then installed a surveillance camera on the building’s facade that tracks the trajectory of anyone walking past. Combined with computer software, the result is a sign that basically follows the person as they pass by.
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What’s the Big Idea?
Explains Roy, “Sherbrooke’s downtown has many abandoned shop fronts…And as nobody likes to stroll in roads with empty shop windows, I wanted to do this retail space a favour and help it to find a new tenant who can care about it.” As if to prove this, a video of the project opens with several images of different “For Rent” signs, all of them static, before showing pedestrians’ reactions to the moving sign. It may not mean a significant uptick in sales, but just like all advertising, anything that might grab a few extra seconds of attention from a viewer can’t hurt.