When Arizona State University began renovating the Beus Center of Law and Society, they knew they had an opportunity to create a unique space for students and visitors to come together.
The Tech Decision
In order to figure out the best way to design and utilize the building, they turned to JBA Consulting, who knew that a video wall was the best option to draw people in and provide an eye-popping installation in the lobby.
It’s not often that a building’s interior wall is used to make an impression on passersby outside. Then again, not every building has a billboard-sized high-resolution LED display inside that dominates the view through the first floor lobby’s large windows.
Every bit of this project was one-of-a-kind, including the need to cut out the concrete wall that now houses the recessed display. Kris Jonson of Level 3 AV, one of the nation’s top audiovisual integration firms, says the unique needs of this space necessitated using a NanoLumens LED display, as any digital surface needed to be far brighter than conventional digital displays and provide a seamless image while literally making a turn around a corner.
“One of the challenges of this west-facing space was the intense sunlight that pours in during the afternoon,” Jonson says. “It was necessary to find a technology that could remain vibrant in that environment, and there aren’t many.”
The new 4mm pixel pitch 33-foot wide by 11.5-foot high NanoLumens Nixel Series display, located in the lobby of the Beus Center, works to both create a community space and attract visitors to the new building.
“This NanoLumens display can literally outshine the Arizona sunset with 1,800 nits of brightness.,” says Jonson. “The other design challenge was creating a seamless 90-degree turn in a display, and that’s simply not possible with any other technology I know of. The last thing is that it needed to look great from near or far, for people inside or outside the building, so it was built with a four millimeter pixel pitch design that kept the cost in line with competition.”
While the ability to be extremely bright was definitely a requirement, the display doesn’t need to be bright all of the time. To ensure that the screen isn’t too bright during the darker parts of the day, NanoLumens provided a sensor that constantly measures ambient light and communicates with the display’s software to adjust brightness automatically.
The Level 3 AV team also installed a digital signage PC to control the videowall, which allows ASU to display any type of graphic or video, and split the full display into as many separate “windows” as they need.
In fact, the single display is almost always used as at least two separate windows, with the main widescreen side presenting one video feed, and the section around the corner showing another feed. So far the display is being used to present HD images and video, campus information and advertisements, often with a ticker feed for important news.
According to Edward Garcia, the building’s Director of IT, the display’s size and vibrancy have helped turn the area into a meeting spot where students and the public can catch up on university and national news.
“We knew there was an opportunity to create a true community space here,” Garcia says. “There is a pretty generous seating area outside where people can relax, interact and do work, and it’s right in front of this massive eye-popping digital display.
“Part of the Law School’s mission is to engage the community to educate them about the legal system, so we’ve used it to detail aspects of the law and share legal news updates,” he says. “Because this intersection gets so much foot traffic – it leads to other campus buildings and is right across from student dorms – it’s also a valuable place to show things like election night newscasts and the presidential inauguration. It’s highlighted on tours now, and it is commonly used to display information about upcoming speakers, the school’s law programs, and our generous donors.”
“The impact this NanoLumens Nixel Series display makes on people walking by really can’t be overstated,” says Jonson. “It essentially turns the outside windows into a full-frame video wall that displays beautiful panoramic imagery, institutional information and videos. JBA Consulting, which helped ASU design the space, knew that a NanoLumens display was the best option to draw people in and provide an eye-popping installation in the lobby.”