Macy’s Steampunk-Style Holiday Windows

Mixing modern technology with traditional animation, Macy's holiday window displays in New York are one of the must-see experiences this Christmas season! Award-winning designer and Macy's director of windows Paul Olszewski created this year's six Broadway-side displays which were done in a modern vintage Steampunk style. Inspired by the “Make-a-Wish” Foundation, the story is about the magical transformation of holiday wishes and dreams into festive holiday ornaments. All the sets, costumes and characters are in stark white, so that the colorful ornaments pop even more.

Olszewski had to find a way to incorporate the store's Celebrity Ornament Collection, which were inspired by 14 of Macy's famous designers like Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, and Betsey Johnson. (10% of the purchase price goes to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.) “It was a challenge for me to make all these different designs and ornaments into one cohesive statement for the windows,” Olszewski told NY Daily News. “But I thought it was such a wonderful cause – supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“I went to the drawing board and came up with this idea of creating this completely abstract world about making these ornaments from people's wishes and dreams,” he continues. “And they turn into ornaments that decorate a Tree of Wishes on the North Star.”

The story unfolds with the help of some innovative 3D technology and ends with an interactive window where visitors can design their own ornaments which they can take home virtually using their mobile phone.

Window #1: Used for the very first time in retail history, a 132-inch autostereoscopic 3D display [3D video wall] was created by 3D Fusion in one of their windows. This means that viewers do not have to don special glasses to experience 3D technology. Said 3D Fusion, “The content was, of course, produced by Macy's as 2D content. It was a 90-second loop of a spaceship on a star field. The content was converted to autostereoscopic 3D by 3DFusion, using their proprietary plug-ins to Autodesk's 3D Studio Max. Special plug-ins were developed for this project and Blumenthal said the software people at 3DFusion worked 24/7 for a while to get this software to work right.”

“You see this character on a Christmas tree kind of rocket ship that launches and goes to the North Star and decorates the tree,” Olszewski says. “So all the other windows tell you what's happening inside the ship, where they're collecting wishes and their essences.”

Window #2: In the second window, a character loads up his spacecraft. “The costumes are all done in steampunk or a Victorian look, all white and silver, and they're covered with gears and steam technology,” Olszewski says.

Window #3: “In the ‘Wish Factory' the mysterious ingredients that create a wish are stirred up, magically transforming into beautiful ornaments.”

Window #4: “The celebrity ornaments come to life in a flurry of animation and optical illusion to illustrate the power of wishes.”

Window #5: “Actual wishes from children from the Make-A-Wish foundation are featured boarding the ‘Ship of Wishes' to make the journey from a mere dream to vibrant reality.”

Window #6: “The fun turns interactive as visitors are invited to make-a-wish and create their own magical ornament via three touch stations on the glass personalized with color, theme, designs and more. When complete, the ornament will appear larger than life in the window–which can then be can then be ‘pinged' back to their mobile devices with an option to upload it to their Facebook page.”

These amazing, highly detailed displays are at Macy's Herald Square, located at 151 W. 34 St. in New York, NY. If you're in New York this holiday season, make sure to check these out. (As you can tell by a lot of my close-up shots, I especially loved the puppets!)

Photos by Alice Yoo/My Modern Met and via [Designintell]

Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content