“In some cases our engineers might be saying to a design team, ‘Maybe you should consider this type of technology’ and offer something; and in other cases architects having a vision for something and coming to us and saying, ‘Can you do that, can you make that real?’ And that’s kind of how the Cosmopolitan pillars came about.”
These design-intensive solutions are migrating from the high end to the middle of the market, according to Peter Andros, owner of Ncyclomedia, a New York-based firm that specializes in creative, innovative visual solutions for retail, entertainment and staged environments.
“With the ubiquitous use of exterior digital signage and architectural lighting, owners are more inclined to see the benefits of interior digital signage,” he says. The problem is that digital messages end up getting lost in the visual noise. “We now have video screens selling us brand information everywhere from public bathrooms to doctors’ waiting rooms,” Andros adds.
“So it’s refreshing to see a video display integrated within architectural design elements in a way that pleases our visual experience and doesn’t ask the viewer for anything more than to be amused, entertained or inspired in some primordial way.”
The folks at NanoLumens certainly agree that design-driven commercial displays are gaining steam. “I think we’re at the beginning stages of adoption for this,” says marketing manager Josh Byrd.
The manufacturer hit the market in 2011 with its unique video display solutions that are bendable and capable of being customized into distinctive shapes. “We’re seeing demand at the end-user level, as people’s eyes are opened to what you can do with digital signage besides just hanging a TV on the wall with some content,” Byrd adds. “They’re seeing what you can do to create atmosphere. I think it will grow rapidly.”
Planar Systems, known for its Matrix and Mosaic architectural video wall solutions, also sees an uptick in demand for these types of atmospheric video solutions.
“We are hearing so many creative things,” says VP of marketing Jennifer Davis. “We’re hearing about incredible merchandizing displays in retail and sports arenas [and] interest from corporations for lobby installations.”
While aesthetic on the surface, Davis points out that most of these solution demands are driven by economics. In restaurants and bars, she says, most design-driven video solutions are intended to “draw attention to money-makers in the hospitality space,” areas like the bar.
Integrators, however, have their work cut out for them in providing these types of solutions to clients, says Gretchen Gilbertson, co-founder of Seura, which makes mirror TVs that the company says “bridge the gap between technology and décor.”
Frankly, Gilbertson says, “integrators need to do a better job of presenting the options to their clients in more creative ways. It is imperative to get in on the process as early as possible and to propose these solutions while budgets are being created, not cut.”
Few integrators, she adds, “understand and embrace this trend” and for the majority “there is opportunity to improve.”
Any perceived disadvantage for integrators, however, can be viewed as an opportunity for profitable partnerships, says Planar’s Davis. “We’re seeing some exciting collaborations emerge with the art community bringing in audio/video integrators as consultants.”