There's a cognac-flavoured animated optical illusion in Harrods' window

Hennessey's 250th anniversary has been toasted with a dynamic light installation created by MPC


MPC Creative has devised a dynamic light installation currently running in Harrods’ luxury window, in London.

The one-off installation, a modern take on a long-standing optical illusion, has been designed to celebrate 250 years of Hennessy’s Cognac.

Entitled Crafted Light, the visual content is designed to bring to mind the essence of the cognac itself through golden hues and abstract fluid motion graphics. 

The installation is an evolution of the optical illusion technique known as ‘Persistence of Vision’, which originated with Victorian-era optical illusions like zoetropes and thaumotropes.

This piece evolves a screen-based concept designed by student Benjamin Muzzin for the conclusion of his ECAL/University of Art and Design diploma project.

The installation blends discrete, simple imagery into a single image in the mind’s eye to give the illusion of smooth motion. 


To create the illusion, two 23” IPS screens are fixed together back to back and spun at a speed of close to 90Km/H.

Framed within a copper claw housing designed by Tom Dixon, MPC Creative built a bespoke support structure and reinforced central axis designed to withstand the centrifugal forces caused by the two screens spinning.

The speed at which the screens rotate is such that specific visuals on them appear as three-dimensional to the naked eye. 

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An additional 3D twist has been added to the installation to create animations visible in 360 degrees, with palpable volume and depth.

The image on the screens appears to float in space through the holographic effect of the spinning screens.

A built-in media player and control system handles the intermittent stopping of the screens, while powerful electromagnets position the screens flush to the framing. 

The automated stopping and starting of the screens, timed with the playing of the motion graphics, reveals the optical illusion.

The unique motor, construction and engineering were developed for the project in by Bluman Associates and Artem.


When rotating, the simple line and particle visuals displayed on the screen appear to merge, to create animated shapes and abstract forms, shaping Hennessy’s famous X.O bottles and flowing liquid and ice via the persistence of light forms. 

The rotation velocity conceals the shape of the screens, leaving a floating hologram of the motion graphics in 360 degrees. 


MPC Creative’s interactive creative director, Andre Assalino, said,"As a drop of condensation on a soda bottle provokes thirst, the golden light refraction of the cognac through the bottom of the snifter glass evokes a sense of rich luxury.

"To recreate that effect digitally, we went through challenging, yet rewarding, mechanical R&D and motion design exploration using a modern “persistence of vision” technique."

Three distinct sets of graphics have been created to represent different facets of Hennessy: balance, flow and ice.

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"Through three abstract animations, we were able to convey Hennessy’s timeless qualities and traditions, creating an experience that reflects the brand’s premium values," continued Assalino.

"Knowing the installation was going to be displayed in one of Harrods’ windows, added that extra bit of motivation to ensure we created something truly memorable."

For more information on Benjamin Muzzin's Full Turn project, see www.benjaminmuzzin.ch and ECAL’s website