Front Pictures installs mini-planetarium at an industrial chimney

Kyiv, Ukraine
October 1, 2019

Front Pictures engineered and installed a digital dome theater at Ukraine’s innovation park UNIT.City. The 3.4m (11ft) planetarium is nestled inside an industrial chimney which has become an art installation connecting the industrial past and innovative future of the IT hub.

UNIT.City was founded in 2016 on the site of an old Soviet motorcycle factory. The UFuture investment group transformed the shabby production facilities into a cutting edge ecosystem for software developers and IT entrepreneurs. A 60 meter brick chimney in the middle of the campus had long stood unattended until UNIT.City administration launched a contest to turn the massive structure into a creative art installation.

The idea of British architect Sebastian Kite beat 158 entries submitted by artists from all over the world. The project is called “Beacon:’ a powerful beam of light shines out from the chimney at night and a mini planetarium is installed inside the brick structure.

“As far as we know, this is the first, and so far the only planetarium installed inside an industrial chimney. Working on this unusual and challenging project was incredibly inspiring for us because it fits perfectly with our philosophy of providing our clients with cutting-edge visual solutions,” said Yuri Kostenko, Front Pictures CEO.

Projection set-up

To ensure 360-degree playback on the dome, Front Pictures used 4 x Benq 1210 projectors driven by Screenberry media server. The seamless image is achieved with advanced automatic 5-stage camera-based calibration that perfectly blends and warps the projectors. Front Pictures also created a 2.40 min promotional 360˚ video for the dome theater that features the innovative spirit of UNIT.City.

The custom projection dome was manufactured by Front Pictures Engineering. The company modified its Rigid Frame Open-Sided negative pressure dome model to neatly fit into the chimney.