“In the past,” says Sakchin Bessette, “travel was more of an adventure, about new discovering new places. Nowadays it’s all based on logistics and security.” For passengers headed through Los Angeles International Airport that has been particularly true. On most days at LAX, there’s a distinct feeling of being part of a poorly tended herd off to who-knows-what rather than a traveler embarking on a journey—even it’s just a quick business trip up the West Coast. There are high hopes, then, that when the new Tom Bradley International Terminal opens to the public in a few weeks, some of the allure of travel will come back, albeit tweaked for contemporary realities.
If that is indeed the case, then Bessette and Moment Factory, the company he co-founded and where he serves as creative director, will have played a major role in improving the quality of the airport experience. The firm was tapped last year to be the executive multimedia content producers for the new terminal—tasked, along with with Marcela Sardi, of Sardi Design, and Mike Rubin, of MRA International, to create seven distinct, visually compelling media features for the building. “They’re there to enhance that traveler experience, placed strategically along the way,” explains Bessette.
The Moment Factory installations include four hours of original video content and the latest in high-resolution imaging and 3D effects. Technologies that react to people’s movements and real-time airport information were also incorporated. For the project, the team spent time in Los Angeles and immersed themselves in the culture (as they do on each of their projects). “You have to get in the mindset of the place—really researching it,” says Bessette. “We collaborated with local people including a director of photography we had shoot time lapse footage of Southern California landscapes.”
Perhaps the most compelling piece is the 72-foot clock tower that surounds the main elevator. “Some of the video is treated as an architectural piece,” says Bessette. “There’s photo realistic content so people look at it and see if it’s really there. We’re playing with the fact it’s physical.” Images of wild animals, homages to the films of Busby Berkeley and Harold Lloyd, even viedo that reacts to people’s movements in real time will play across its four sides.
Elsewhere, as passengers exit security they walk under the bridge and see images of Angelenos jumping in extreme slow motion to capture the freedom and joy of traveling. In baggage claim, in response to former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s request for a water feature, there’s two-story scree that features water elements also in extreme slow motion.
For Bessette, “It was wonderful to work within such beautiful architecture,” he says. “The terminal is so beautiful and iconic—our pieces are a sprinkle adding to the amazing work.”