MegaFaces is a cross-platform project (digital, sculptural and architectural) conceived and built for the Sochi Winter Olympics and Paralympics, which took place from February to March 2014. Formed by 11,000 telescopic actuators, the kinetic façade of the MegaFaces pavilion was able to transform in three dimensions to recreate human faces. It showed giant 3D-‘Selfies’ of visitors to the building, thus giving everyone the opportunity to be the face of the Olympics — regardless of their status as athletes or spectators, their age, nationality, sexuality or gender.

Facial impressions were created once every minute and were relayed to the kinetic façade from 3D scans made in proprietary 3D photo booths installed within the building. Each actuator acted as one pixel within the entire façade and could be extended by up to two metres as part of a three-dimensional shape or change colour as part of an image or video that was simultaneously displayed. The resultant portraits appeared on the side of the building, three at a time, at 8 metres tall — a magnification of 3500% — larger than the Statue of Liberty’s face. 

Technologies of this kind have never before been used for such a large-scale project. MegaFaces is effectively the world’s first three-dimensionally actuated large-scale LED screen.

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