Projects: World’s Largest LED Board Lights Up In Johannesburg

March 19, 2013 by Dave Haynes


Lumen – billed as the largest LED display on the planet, was switched on today on top of the four sides of the Absa Towers building in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Four giant LED screens – one on each side on top of the 29th floor roof, result in a digital display footprint almost twice the size of a basketball court (38 metres long and 17 metres high). The screens can be seen from a radius of up to 1.5 kilometres from the ground and 2.5 kilometres in the air.

Financed by Absa, a South African member of the Barclays banking group, the Lumen project is seen as a way of helping rejuvenate the central business district of what locals call Jozi.

Lumen follows the development of Absa Towers West, a five star green-rated building that is the head office of Absa and Barclays Africa and is the latest step in the Group’s regeneration programme.

The rejuvenation of the Absa campus will ensure an enhanced environment not only for customers and employees, but also for other businesses and entrepreneurs in the CBD. It also reinforces Absa and the wider Barclays Group’s commitment to the City of Johannesburg and will make a significant contribution to the City’s 2040 Growth and Development Strategy and its vision for a World Class African City of the Future.

“Lumen is a significant step in a ten-year project that will regenerate and revitalise the Johannesburg CBD and supports Absa and the Barclays Group’s fundamental value of Stewardship,” says Bobby Malabie, Absa and Barclays Africa Group Executive for Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs. “This value is underpinned by the notion that no matter which realm we are active in, we will always leave things better than we found them. Supporting this notion, Lumen will become a landmark that will not only be instantly recognisable in Johannesburg, but on the world stage.

“As we progress and grow our business across the 13 African countries that we have operations in, Lumen will become the beacon from which we will share our stories of how we are helping people achieve their ambitions – in the right way.”

The bank is taking some heat on Twitter from people concerned about the energy costs. Absa says Lumen uses low-energy consumption LEDs but to offset some of the carbon emissions is building one of the largest rooftop solar photovoltaic farms in South Africa on top of Absa Towers North.

To offset the remaining carbon emissions, Absa is also rolling out a program run by Absa Insurance and EcoNavitas to subsidise solar geysers (solar water heaters) by 60% to more than 750 households This is the first time a programme to subsidise solar geysers has been launched in South African and represents a community investment of about R3.85 million.

The tech details are here, but the short story is these are Barco 20 mm pixel pitch LED boards. Somebody in Belgium got a nice commission check on that one.


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