Leviathan helps MGM guests step into the digital world

"MIrror Mirage" at MGM's Leo the Lion statue

“MIrror Mirage” at MGM’s Leo the Lion statue

Leviathan dazzled up the Las Vegas MGM Grand Hotel & Casino with an interactive display in the lobby of the iconic landmark on the strip.

Titled, “Mirror Mirage,” the installation rises roughly three feet from the ground underneath a golden, life-size statue of MGM’s iconic Leo the Lion mascot.

“We created Mirror Mirage to show that MGM grand is stepping things up and that guests are stepping into a new digital world,” explains Leviathan President Chad Hutson. “It foreshadows of amazing experiences to come during their stay.”

Mirror Mirage’s focal point consists of five video monitors in circular formation that run customized and entirely unique visual content. They form part of a gilded rotunda that began welcoming guests on the day before New Year’s Eve.

As visitors approach the centerpiece, their movements are tracked by miniscule depth sensors, converted into digital information by hidden computers, and transformed into corresponding motion that flows across the screens before them.

Golden particles follow guest movements
Golden particles follow guest movements

“Every time you walk past, you have this trail of gold particles that follows your movement,” explains Hutson. “The MGM branding is all about gold.”

An alternative version features a similar sensation formed by the four card suits — clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades.

Leviathan won the business in a competitive event that included two other internationally renowned outfits, LA-based VT Pro Design and Théoriz Studio in Lyon, France. The project was initiated through a partnership with Vox Media’s in-house content marketing studio, Vox Creative, and media partner, PHD.

It began with a walkthrough of the property in the fall, after which the three agencies were given two weeks to submit their custom proposals.

Leviathan's Chad Hutson, Adam Berg, and Jason White brainstorm in the MGM Grand
Leviathan’s Chad Hutson, Adam Berg, and Jason White brainstorm in the MGM Grand

The creative submissions, along with interviews of principals representing the groups that created them, were combined into a video and posted on Facebook by Vox’s media publication, The Verge, on November 27.

The post included a message requesting input and feedback, and MGM offered prizes to customers and fans who included the hashtag, #sweepstakes, in their responses.

Over the next two weeks, the video racked up more than 15,000 responses and 4.7 million views.

Hutson believes that Leviathan’s branding experience helped put the Chicago-based agency’s “Mirror Mirage” on top.

“When we first opened up, we operated more as a design-focused production and post-house,” he says. “As time went on, we began working more with brands, becoming something of an agency ourselves.”

Leviathan tapped Floyd Davis at Chicago-based Artpentry to physically build the installation. From invitation to installation, he estimates that the total job “took about three months.”

"150 Media Stream"
“150 Media Stream”

Besides wielding the moxi and wherewithal to construct an interactive piece in one of the world’s busiest hotels, Leviathan has completed conceptual installations in many other environments.

“150 Media Stream” accentuates the lobby of Chicago’s recently-completed, award-winning skyscraper, 150 N. Riverside. Nearly a dozen customized educational pieces help complete the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Numbers in Nature” exhibit.

Although the separate projects ultimately live in different kinds of places, Leviathan follows a similar path to get them there.

“Whether it’s a long-term, short-term or themed-environment, we ask ourselves the same things,” explains Hutson. “Who will be the audience or group? What will they walk away with? What kind of devices can we set up? How long do we want them to spend in that area?”

“Mirror Mirage” will be viewed by everyone who checks-in at the hotel, as well as everyone who arrives at the premises by cab, Uber, limo or Lyft. Although it is a temporary installation, Leviathan is already creating content to match events happening at the space — including, most recently, Tiesto’s Birthday — and is ready to make it permanent.