Chicago is a city that has always celebrated culture and the arts and that is especially apparent at Navy Pier, one of the Midwest’s top destinations. Originally completed in 1916 as part of Daniel Burnham's plan for Chicago, Navy Pier is an iconic landmark inspiring discovery and wonder. Since its last redevelopment in 1995, more than 180 million guests have come to enjoy the Pier's 50 acres of unparalleled attractions and experiences. As Navy Pier enters its second century, the venue is evolving into an accessible, year-round centerpiece for Chicago’s diverse arts and cultural treasures.
During this evolution it became apparent that the “People’s Pier” needed a better, brighter, and bolder way to welcome and inform guests without distracting them from the Pier itself. NanoLumens®, award-winning creators of uniquely compelling interactive LED visualization solutions, provided the perfect solution with four of its Engage Series™ true HD displays that act as Navy Pier’s new, visually stunning welcome to guests.
“Navy Pier is a world-class entertainment, arts and social destination providing a myriad of activities and experiences for both Chicago locals and tourists. That energy and informational moment was created through expressive visuals promoting and inviting visitors to join in the fun while providing a dynamically updated daily activity information feed at entry,” said Jeff Arko, Design Producer at Gensler, the design firm that oversaw the renovation. “We wanted to deliver a new welcoming experience that was both present and obvious but one that would not cause any kind of impedance on the journey for visitors from the entryway into the rest of the Pier experience.”
NanoLumens delivered four portrait mode 1.87mm Engage Series LED displays that measure 3.94’ x 7.75’, and sit side-by-side at the Pier’s entryway. Among the challenges was providing the spot with a physically obvious solution that wouldn’t dominate the area.
“Going with four displays for this install allowed us to create some space between each display and not take away from the view into Navy Pier as guests entered,” said NanoLumens Regional Sales Director Ryan Wilhelm. “The way the four displays are set up also allows for a more artistic look which blends in well with the Pier atmosphere and offers this kind of artistic, Chicago-welcome.”
Wilhelm added that NanoLumens was able to provide the very tight pixel pitch this solution needed as visitors would be viewing the content from up close. NanoLumens Engage Series displays feature the lowest pixel pitch range of any NanoLumens product — from 0.9mm to 2.5mm — making them the ideal solution for any area where crisp images and close-up viewing are required and Engage Series displays are extraordinarily slim and easy to install, offering both front and rear serviceability.
The columns can each run content separately or be used as a single canvas with messages that stretch across all four columns. The content is designed to help guests along on their journey through the Pier. “We didn’t want the content to force people to linger at the entryway. We wanted it to simply set that stage as they enter,” Arko explained. “The NanoLumens multi-column solution helped achieve this goal.”
The project’s integrator Paul Krumrich of Spye dealt with a few challenges that went beyond design issues, and NanoLumens deftly tackled those as well. A three-day install accomplished over a big holiday weekend required some helpful collaboration.
“The ease of installation when working with NanoLumens displays helped as there were additional challenges that come with working in a very busy public space as a larger renovation was ongoing,” Krumrich said. “And as they always do, NanoLumens handled the custom size request with no problem and their displays are lightweight and easy to handle. The 6-year Nixel™ to Pixel warranty was very important to Navy Pier as well.”
Krumrich concluded, “There was a balance that needed to be struck with this project that included a melding of tech, art and culture. The design of these NanoLumens displays enhances the Navy Pier experience and accomplishes the desired blend in a unique and very effective way.”