Leaps by Bayer

How Critical Mass designed an experiential installation to help Bayer unveil a new purpose-led initiative.

Bayer established a list of world-changing goals they call “Leaps.” Through major advances in the life sciences, they want to usher in a new era of sustainability, find elusive cures, and make improvements to global health. These goals seem utterly impossible to some. Bayer believes otherwise, but they needed a unique way to tell their story.

To find a provocative metaphor for their “leaps,” they looked well outside the life sciences—all the way to the world of skateboarding.

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The 25

In Lyon, France, there is a staircase known to every pro skateboarder: the 25. These steps represent the impossible drop—just a little too far, a little too high, and a little too unthinkable. That changed when Aaron “Jaws” Homoki came along. Despite injuries, setbacks, and failures, he took leap after leap until, at last, he made history by landing the impossible jump.

Working with Bayer, Critical Mass recreated the 25 Steps as a digitally augmented, physical installation in downtown Los Angeles, where the 2017 Summit Conference was held. The base of the installation was an exact, life-size replica of the 25 Steps in Lyon, with an interactive technology layer that visitors could use to create generative art.

The negative space beneath the steps provided a space for conversation, meetings, and even yoga—a way for the attendees, many of whom are luminaries known around the globe, to exchange ideas and connect with Bayer’s mission.

Organic conversations about Jaws’s leap transpired daily, and Summit attendees used the stairs as a backdrop for photos and posts on social media. Attendance for the conversations beneath the stairs was at full capacity both days.

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