Designer Niklas Roy decided to create a new way to draw attention to one empty storefront in Sherbrooke, a city in southern Quebec. Inside, he put a huge “For Rent” sign on a motorized track that stretched across the length of the window. He then installed a surveillance camera on the building’s facade that tracks the trajectory of anyone walking past. Combined with computer software, the result is a sign that basically follows the person as they pass by.
What’s the Big Idea?
Explains Roy, “Sherbrooke’s downtown has many abandoned shop fronts…And as nobody likes to stroll in roads with empty shop windows, I wanted to do this retail space a favour and help it to find a new tenant who can care about it.” As if to prove this, a video of the project opens with several images of different “For Rent” signs, all of them static, before showing pedestrians’ reactions to the moving sign. It may not mean a significant uptick in sales, but just like all advertising, anything that might grab a few extra seconds of attention from a viewer can’t hurt.