A nine-gate, $200 million addition to Charlotte Douglas Airport, in North Carolina, opens tomorrow morning, with a main feature being some 2,000 sq. ft. of visualized data on several vast fine-pitch LED video walls.
The data visuals are the focal point of a public art piece, called Interconnected, commissioned by the airport to LA data artist Refik Anadol, the guy behind that crazy three-dimensional art piece on a lobby LED wall in a main Salesforce office block in San Francisco.
The abstract visuals for the piece are driven by data from global and regional air-traffic tracking software, airline flight information, baggage handling systems and parking and ground shuttle transportation throughout the airport campus.
The video walls are all Nanolumens product – a 140 foot wide that uses 2mm LED pitch and and 40-foot diagonal ones that are 4mm pixel pitch. The artwork is synchronized across the three and there are three “distinct visual chapters”:
- Fluid Structures;
- Impossible Materials;
- Data Poems.
The visuals are real-time and designed to reflect the kinetic nature of an airport that serves more than 44.4 million travellers annually.
Dear friends, currently working at Charlotte Douglas Airport's new Expansion Councourse & installing a new piece called Interconnected using data from entire airport operations (global flight networks, gates, luggage, parking). 40’ diagonal data paintings/140’x10’ data sculpture! pic.twitter.com/xAykDd18pi
— Refik Anadol (@refikanadol) July 9, 2018
Love this for a couple of reasons.
1 – The visuals are gorgeous, even though virtually everyone looking at them won’t know how they’re data-driven.
2 – Visualized data means there is just a one-time investment required for creative. With a lot of video walls, the big investments go into the capital cost and then the initial creative for the screens. But what often gets overlooked or under-appreciated (and budgeted) is the need to keep that content refreshed. With this set-up, data steadily refreshes the creative, with no human intervention.
This should win some awards.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.