MAI Blog

Grand Lisboa, Macao

The Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planing at The University of Sydney has recently installed a SmartSlab LED screen inside the window display facing the yard in front of the faculty building.

smartslab screen

SmartSlab has attracted quite some attention since it was introduced a few years ago by b consultants ltd, an architectural consultancy run by Tom Barker. It is specifically unique due to its resistant structure and modular approach: the screen is shipped in 600 x 600mm tiles that can be built up into large arrays of any size. The steel and polycarbonate structure allows it to be even used as flooring or curtain walls in buildings.

Another very unique quality of the SmartSlab is that it uses hexagonal pixels – ‘hexels’. This concept is based on the fly’s compound eye and achieves a better optical appearance than conventional screen pixels, since the hexels are always equidistant to each other. Each tile comprises 672 hexels.

close-up close-up

The screens can run any Quicktime movie or DVD as well as Quartz Composer applications, which allows designers and researchers to develop dynamic visualizations or even interactive applications based on webcam vision tracking, WII controllers, etc.

The SmartSlab at the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planing currently shows digital artworks created by students from the Design Computing program. Researchers at the group are currently investigating interactive application scenarios that take the physical context of the yard into consideration. On the long run the screen will be integrated into the buildings façade to achieve better visibility from long distances.

We will post additional information as the project progresses.


  1. C.J. Vanes
    Posted Jul 29, 2008 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Just came back from Macao. The Grand Lisboa is definitely the ugliest building I have seen in a long long time. The building sticks out like a soar thumb in Macao’s skyline. I suspect the owner Mr Ho had a huge hand in the ‘design’ of this thing. I simply cannot imagine a schooled architect coming up with such an hideous shape. Okay, it’s a casino, so it should look flashy and gaudy. But that doesn’t mean it should be a sight for soar eyes. A decent architect would have found a way to be inspired by a lotus pant, rather than building this butt-ugly thing of glass, concrete and steel.

  2. Ck - from Vancouver
    Posted Nov 16, 2008 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Agreed.This is perhaps the worst looking casino in the world. It has a ruinous effect on the skyline of Macau.

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