Landor creates new downtown tradition with holiday windows

Local branding and design firm Landor Associates, located in the former Shillito’s department store building at Race and 7th Streets in downtown Cincinnati, has implemented an updated twist on classic holiday window displays using modern technology.

For the last two years, the company has worked to create vignettes that incorporate their work in attractive and engaging ways. From invoking local fashion designers to asking area bloggers to record their inspirations, the creative teams at Landor have enlightened and delighted passersby with their creations. This particular display takes it to a new level.

Media Design Director Dan Reynolds spoke with UrbanCincy about the background and implementation behind the newest iteration of storefronts. “My background is in film-making and creating media-based, interactive environments,” says Dan. “For our holiday windows, we used a projection mapping process to create hyper-precise animated projections onto three-dimensional objects.”

This technology, combined with the motion designers’ work, creates an engaging, updated take on the classic department store animatronics of yore. The windows have been transformed into linear vignettes that illustrate the lyrics to the song “Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland.”

While the displays are nice to look at during the day, the real magic happens at 4:45, when it’s dark enough outside that the projections can be seen from the street. “Passersby have done double takes when they see the different animations,” says Dan. “It’s a completely new and unexpected experience that surprises and delights people walking by.”

The show fills a tradition left vacant by both the original Shillito’s Department Store Christmas displays, and the Duke Energy holiday train display, which moved this year from its home on 4th Street to the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. While there is no argument to the appropriateness of a train display in a train station, the tradition of going downtown for the holiday displays is permanently changed.

Courtney Tsitouris has memories from downtown Christmases past. “My family had a ritual back then… back when I had to wear a ruffle dress and curl my bangs. We’d stroll through Fountain Square, look at the lights, eat at Orchids at Palm Court and I’d get a toy from the Christmas shop at the Westin. I believed in the magic.”

Now workers, residents, and visitors can complete their downtown Christmas experience – ice skating on Fountain Square, local shopping and eating, and seeing a magical holiday window display at the Shillito’s building. On December 16th, visitors can come inside the Landor lobby and visit with Santa, look at the windows, and take free carriage rides around the city from 4-8 pm.

“These windows are our responsibility to the city,” reflects Dan. “We have an obligation to engage our neighborhood, and building on classic traditions is just one way to strengthen Cincinnati.”

Landor Holiday Window picture by 5chw4r7z.

  • That last sentence/quote – so true. Congrats on a job well done, Dan. Can’t wait to see what’s next.