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On the Circuit

Nov 25, 2013 2:45 PM, By Cynthia Wisehart

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The tragic shooting at LAX happened just as we went to press with our cover story on the airport’s new Tom Bradley International Terminal. Many of the passengers (and at least one Fox News reporter) were evacuated to the new terminal as part of the effort to protect hundreds of people in the unfolding situation.

In the live interviews and tweets from Bradley, some people commented on the sanctuary-like feeling of the terminal. Of course this was in part due to the fact that it was not Terminal 2, where the police action was taking place. Anywhere else would have qualified as a sanctuary. But as the hours passed and people were stuck, looking for baby formula and water, food, and places for elderly relatives to sit down, there were stories of kindness inside Bradley’s glass and stainless steel walls.

None of this was remotely what the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) envisioned for the newly renovated terminal. More than two years ago, when a team of AV and content experts started working on the ambitious project, the goal was to make it a destination terminal—a place people would choose to connect through, and a place that would make a statement about Los Angeles for those who were embarking or coming home.

We hear a lot about combining AV and architecture and AV and IT. We hear a lot about how digital signage content needs its own art form. This installation really delivers a tangible idea of what all that can mean. The video is architecture, art, and information, and the underlying system is something like a place-based broadcast network. It was very expensive to design and build; it took a great deal of expertise from all of the many disciplines involved. It is a pioneering project. It’s remarkable that it got commissioned, designed, and built as imagined.

LAX is my lifelong airport. The day I left home as a teenager, I flew out of LAX for Philadelphia, and in the years since I have passed through Bradley International dozens, if not hundreds of times, coming and going from my job in Tokyo, international installations, tradeshows, vacations, and family events in the United Kingdom.

I wanted this story to celebrate LAX and it still does, but with an acknowledgement of the people who were injured there and those who lost a loved one to senseless violence.

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