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Using open-minded thinking to achieve artistic work

A creative company handling global installations

[OBSCURA DIGITAL] San Francisco, California, USA

Obscura Digital has produced installations for locations around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque and New York’s Guggenheim Museum. A video of an illumination project for a concert at Sydney’s Opera House set a record on YouTube for 33 million live views in just four hours.

“Pushing forward the artistic is a core value for the company,” says CEO Chris Lejeune. “It’s not as much about technology, as we have many people from music and the arts, and every employee has a passion and an innovative way of thinking. Individuals who enjoy life and bring this with them to the company are the people we want.”

The company was founded in 2000. Mr. Lejeune’s strength was in design, while Creative Director Travis Threlkel focused on technology, and together found a mutual understanding in their joint skills. The first office was a three-story warehouse in San Francisco’s South Park, as they wanted a spacious facility that gave them the environment for product testing.


OBSCURA DIGITAL
Founded 2000
Sales: Not publicly released
Gross profits: Not publicly released
Employees: 60 (2012)
http://obscuradigital.com

  • The CEO and other managers area assigned private rooms.

  • The first-floor office space is home to the desks of accounting and other back office functions, as well as assistants.

  • A meeting room near the entrance.

  • Second-floor engineers’ workshop.

The idea that things could be reproduced quickly were also inherited in this office. The desks were equipped so that programmed data could actually be played back, helping to motivate creativity. At first the main system was the use of projectors sending the images into a dome, something which gradually went though a variety of product development processes before moving in 2010 to the current location.

As before, the building was a renovated three-story warehouse, but this time with the Open Way of Thinking concept added. As orders grew for increasingly complex projects, the cooperation of people from three different areas—a strategist, designer and technologist—became increasingly important. A design was created to further promote collaboration.


Chris Lejeune
Co-founder/CEO

Founded Obscura Digital in 2000 along with Travis Threlkel. Was previously COO before assuming his current position.

It is desgined ot be an enviroenment wehre it’s esy to concentrate on work, in a slightly dark setting.

360°View

It is desgined ot be an enviroenment wehre it’s esy to concentrate on work, in a slightly dark setting.

The first-floor entrance includes an open space aimed at collaboration, with glass-walled meeting rooms. The second floor is aimed at allowing engineers to work in a calm, relaxing space, with a feeling something like a garage. The basement includes a large studio, complete with audiovisual equipment. A large dome is also here, so the installations can be projected in a setting like the real thing. The engineers will sometimes move their desks to the basement, in order to project and refine their data.

An atrium connects the basement and first floor, so they experimented with glass walls from the meeting rooms to the studio. As you walk the corridors on the first floor, you can get a peek at what is happening on the floor below. While there is a place where you can concentrate on work, it’s also true that the content of your work is visible to other employees.

Along with client work, once or twice a year there is a project planned to send a major message to the world. A short time ago, this was an artwork exhibition for COP15. This is not for making a profit, but is important in having the employees create something that they wish to transmit.

“I want to make more of an impact on the world, and create an idea that touches people,” are the kinds of motivations that drive the employees, and what helps to drive the innovations that continue Obscura Digital’s success.

From WORKSIGHT 03(November, 2012)


The basement dome studio. Installations are projected into the dome, and it is an important part of product development.


This creative technology firm, which provides a wide variety of visual installations, was founded in 2000. It continues to expand globally. It is known for the creativity and high technological level of its work, which has included large-scale 3D projection mapping, interactive, and music projects for events at the Sydney Opera House, San Francisco Symphony, Carnegie Hall, and others. Along with its headquarters in San Francisco, it has offices in New York and Europe, and has begun expansion into Asia and South America.

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