Artificial intelligence is getting less artificial, more intelligent, and even deadly as HBO’s new hit, Westworld, reveals. In the show, Westworld is a faux western town populated by cyborgs who mingle with human guests who have come looking for a bit of fantasy that sometimes turns all too real.
For the show’s star-studded premiere at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, we worked with designer Billy Butchkavitz to create the look and feel of the two worlds that exist in the show – the cold laboratory devoid of any color and at all and a dusty Western town where it always seems to be sunset.
To recreate this fantasy world, the lobby and foyer of the hotel had been transformed into the laboratory where the cyborgs are created, tweaked or decommissioned. The main focal point of Billy’s design here was a rotating recreation of a cyborg in its “creation circle ala Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man created by Agile Eye. To hang this 300-pound piece, we sourced and installed a motorized rig normally used for 6-foot mirrored balls.
The event lighting design in this area was a stark white-on-white palette. Three tones of white light were used – incandescent, LED and halogen fixtures gelled in steel blue to mimic the LED white. The bar off the lobby featured a tattoo station and the restaurant was turned into a casino.
Inside the main ballroom, Agile Eye had created a western scene using life-size vinyl graphics of the buildings applied to build outs around the room. On the main wall, video mapping by Bart Kresa Design featured a train pulling into the station. We created a textured projection over the entire ballroom to add another layer of visual interest. Lighting for this room, and the Spare Room upstairs which was decorated as if it were the outskirts of town, was Mayan Sun and Deep Amber to simulate a sunset.
A new element this year was a stop-action photo opportunity. Each pose the guests made in this special boxed area filled with light tubes and branded with the Westworld logo, was caught in a different frame. This was achieved through the photography, and the lighting. Kino Flo tubes were installed on the walls and wired to sequence a different light pattern in each of the animated frames. The final result was like a gif, or old-fashioned flip book.
After a night of fun, guests left this cyborg fantasy world and returned to their real lives accompanied by their friends and family … or, as Westworld watchers might now ask … were they really?
Designer: Billy Butchkavitz | Photographer: Gabor Ekecs | Venue: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel | Video mapping: Bart Kresa Design | Vitruvian man, vinyl wraps: Agile Eye | Photo stations: Brian Kramer Photography