Ads and our dislike of them are somewhat of a universal phenomenon. Just take a look at all of the ad blockers available on the market and you’ll understand how much people agree on the topic.

The exception here is marketing people, who appreciate ads for what they are—a certain kind of art. Or, if an ad is the right kind of appealing, then people will at the very least not hate it and at best, they’ll love it and it’ll go viral.

And then there are times when you look up at an electronic billboard and don’t really see an ad. On the contrary, you see actual visual art in the form of a giant, hectic ocean wave bashing against the display screen, attempting to break free from its electronic confinements.

What would you do if you saw a huge ocean wave coming at you from where you used to see ads all the time?

Image credits: d’strict

Seoul is home to the largest advertising screen in South Korea, which now serves as an aquarium for a gargantuan, computer-simulated ocean wave in constant hectic motion. The spectacular waves are a part of the Public Media Series created by d’strict, with whom Bored Panda got in touch for an interview. Titled #1_WAVE with Anamorphic illusion, the visual seems to be the first in its series, hinting at other potential entries in the future.

d’strict is the digital media tech company behind this display of the elements. It specializes in designing, making, and delivering awe-inspiring content, striving to offer new visual space-based experiences to the world. Believe it or not, these waves aren’t making a debut here as a nearly identical visual was done by the same guys under the Nexen UniverCity Project, a piece of design to improve the location’s guest experience.

“We thought it would be an astounding experience for everyone to see the ADs DOOH, [the LED ad billboard], transform into a new space that would surprise people. Samseong-dong, Seoul—the place where the COEX K-Pop Square is located—is notorious for its traffic, people are always busy, and we thought of delivering a special surprise for passers-by,” explained Sean Lee of d’strict.

The Wave serves as a sweet escape and brings comfort and relaxation to people. We didn’t expect so many people around the world to respond so positively to the Wave after its unveiling on social media, but we are very grateful that our message was seen as an unimaginable scene by many who are tired of the current pandemic and the trying times.”

Korean digital media tech company d’strict created a 3D ocean waves which were shown in Seoul’s COEX Square

Image credits: d’strict

The company made use of a public electronic billboard in Seoul’s COEX Square. COEX is a convention and exhibition center that doubles as a gigantic mall in Seoul’s Gangnam District. The location is also sometimes referred to as K-pop Square as the screen often features K-Pop content.

Sean Lee explained that many real estate companies are setting up public media facilities in locations like shopping malls, resorts, casinos, and offices. However, instead of putting up advertising on all of them, they sometimes go for artistic content as it raises real-estate value. Since having customized art made for each separate project can prove to be a costly expense, d’strict had an idea to start creating a library of pre-made visuals such as the Wave, which in turn could be licensed out to multiple businesses at a lower cost, and effectively creating a new business vertical in the market.

The way the gargantuan water wave works is that it makes use of anamorphic illusion methods to convey the visuals you see here. It’s an effect that works from a specific vantage point (or points). Otherwise, it looks distorted and the sense of reality and depth is gone.

What helps is the gigantic set of high-definition smart LED displays forming a unified and coordinated image. The screen extends 80.1 meters in length and 20.1 meters in height, amounting to a staggering 1,620 square meters of prime screen real estate. The signage was developed by Samsung and is comprised of around 31,000 LED display modules, supporting resolutions up to 7,840×1,952 pixels.

The visuals made it look like a hectic ocean storm, trying to break free from its digital jail inside the ad screen

Image credits: d’strict

The screen is located in Seoul’s COEX Square, which is a convention and exhibition center that doubles as a mall

Image credits: d’strict

However, such a technological feat is not without its challenges, as explained Mr. Lee: “Experts in the industry will be familiar with its effects and limitations, but the anamorphic illusion technology has the restriction that only the most complete 3D stereoscopic effects can be viewed from specific view points. Therefore, it was necessary to study and consider the visuals and expressions that can minimize distortion, even when viewing the content from a different view point.”

He continued: “In particular, the most challenging point of the Wave was to find a way to create the surface that corresponds to the ceiling. After designing the surface of the ceiling with different variations, we had a lot of time for field tests on the actual LED screen and got the best 3D stereoscopic view from multiple angles. What you now see is the final result of the hard work we did.”

Besides the anamorphic ocean wave illusion and the Nexen UniverCity project, d’strict is also responsible for a number of other noteworthy projects within the vein of awesome visual displays, including the interactive visual experience at Cafe.Bot and the 3D bit of “digi-tainment” in the form of the Lotte World Magic Circle.

The screen itself is 80×20 meters, covering an area of 1,620m², and is comprised of 31,000 display modules

Image credits: d’strict

Watch the full video of the oceans waves in motion inside the digital ad display

Video credits: d’strict

As mentioned previously, the little #1 part in the title hints at the idea of there being more videos of such caliber coming out in the near future. We asked Lee if he could confirm this and he had this to say: “#2 was already created with the concept of “surrealism” in mind, focused in a direction where Millennials can look at it more familiarly and favorably with its enchanting vivid colors. It will be called “Soft Body” and will be revealed on d’strict’s SNS channel soon.”

He also gave us the scoop on even further projects: “#3 is being produced as a visual of a “Whale” swimming in one’s imagination on a large screen, and it will also be screened on COEX DOOH soon. We will continue to create content that can be utilized for each season, such as Halloween, Christmas, and New Year, and we also have ideas to do a “Nature” series, where you can see amazing scenes from various natural environments right here in the middle of the city.” You heard it folks, stay tuned for some more magical LED screen goodness!

Some call this Seoul’s version of Time Square as its gigantic LED display is more often used for advertising and K-pop rather than anything else, illuminating the night skies of Seoul. However, despite it being the largest screen in South Korea, area wise, the largest screen in the world is the Suzhou Sky Screen in Suzhou Industrial Park, China, covering an area of 16,000 square meters.

What are your thoughts on this? What visuals would you want to see displayed in this way? Let us know in the comments section below!

Here are several other visually spectacular projects from d’strict

Video credits: d’strict

Video credits: d’strict

Video credits: d‘strict