This is the lobby of HSBC Place, an office and retail development in downtown Edmonton, Alberta.
The Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) and Epic Investment Services engaged NYC-based experiential design firm ESI Design to come up with ideas to transform the public area to attract tenants and “fit in better with the new nearby, pedestrian-friendly arena and entertainment district.”
The solution is a set of five-sided LED boxes attached to the lobby ceiling, and visible from the street through the curtain glass facade. The six boxes all have 260-square-feet of LED, and run immersive digital art.
Says the case study:
Like jewels in a jewel box, the installation, titled Prisms, mixes hyperlocal imagery with abstract art. It shows scenes inspired by Edmonton, the nighttime sky, and the ocean, and incorporates live data including time of day, season and weather.
Creating content for 5-sided 3D forms rather than for a flat surface, presented a unique design challenge: It needed to give the illusion of depth and look convincing from every angle. ESI created content for the displays, using techniques from video game design to accomplish the seamless result.
The boxes are complemented by floor-to-ceiling LED columns that lead visitors to the property’s retail mall.
There is a video on the case study page but the settings did not allow embedding here. Click to view …
I am a big fan of ESI and have seen a similar installation at a downtown Chicago mall, with LED displays set into ceiling light coves. This one leaves me lukewarm, though. It’s undeniably nice, but it is the sort of thing that may be noticed more by passing outside foot traffic than by the people inside, because the displays are way high above the lobby.
What coming from the ceiling achieves, though, is the ability to likely use less costly DV LED – because of viewing distance and less fine pixel density – and minimize damage risk because it would take a LOT of focused work to damage the LED packages way up there.
Mounting from the ceiling may also have something to do with the relatively shallow lobby depth … the main entry is not all that set back from the wall that would be the main candidate, I assume, for a video wall. You walk in and that wall is right there, and the view of it from outside would also be blocked by support columns and an entry canopy.
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.