Airport Media Wall
Merson Group were delighted to be awarded the contract to design, manufacture and install a complex ‘Media Wall’ at a London airport earlier this year. This airport is currently undergoing a major expansive phase and so the security area was reconfigured to cope with increasing passenger numbers; the Media Wall was to be a key element of its transformation. This commission represented an exciting addition to Merson Group’s recent work at Heathrow T5, which provided integrated digital wayfinding solutions as part of a complex and large project. Merson have growing capability within the digital sector and our designs are constantly becoming more innovative, therefore this is expected to be the first in a series of similar projects for the increasingly digital transport sector.
The Media Wall combined the skills and expertise of two Merson Group divisions; Merson ASG and Neu Creative. Stuart Dodds, Business Development Director was approached by the Airport Operator with some preliminary designs for a 13m long and 3m high digital display wall to be positioned airside between security and retail areas. The wall was to display wayfinding and passenger information on either side of a large advertising screen.
Stuart then worked alongside Damien Chambers from Neu Creative to develop the designs issued by the client into a product that would fulfil their brief in a visually impressive way. Damien started this Design Development process by using 3D computer conceptualisation software to develop the initial design in Autocad, before rendering the designs in 3D Studio Max using the power of the VRay render engine. This stage produced three design options that were presented to the client. Rendered images are crucial for projects of this nature as they provide a realistic representation of a product, enabling the client to see how it would work within its designated space.
Once the client had chosen their preferred design for the Media Wall we were tasked with producing a mood board of the materials which we envisaged using in fabrication. Together with a display of the rendered images, the mood boards comprised the black glass, powder coated aluminium panels with a variety of painted finishes, mirrors and stainless steel to be used by Merson. We also suggested the incorporation of LED feature lighting, which was well-received by the client.
The construction design was a complex process as it required full integration with Merson’s LED lighting and the screens, which were supplied by another contractor. As the screens would require regular maintenance the interior electrical components needed to be easily accessible yet concealed. Structural soundness was vital for this project, therefore Merson ensured the designs were approved by specialist structural engineers.
After being fabricated at our manufacturing facility in East Kilbride, the Media Wall was installed by a team of four installers and two installation supervisors, over a period of eight night shifts. This was split into two week-long periods due to the long lead-in time for the black glass panels for the face of the sign. The client had a critical date to meet for the advertising on the wall to be installed by and therefore it was decided that due to the lead-in time for the black glass facing panels we would use Foamex as a temporary solution whilst the glass was made. This ensured that our client met its key advertising date. The Foamex was replaced by the black glass when the panels arrived, before installing the blue LED feature lights and performing final checks.
The installation process was complex and time-consuming due to the size of the various components and its airside location. The 10 glass panels for the rear of the wall were too large for the goods lifts and so they had to be moved and lifted into location using specialist plant, not an easy task as they weighed 80kg each. Secondly, the airside location meant that the crew and materials had to be checked by security screening every time they entered the site, on average 20 times a shift.
Stuart Dodds, Business Development Director at Merson, commented;
“The construction design of the wall was complex as was the airside installation and associated logistics, however the Merson team with over 20 years of experience delivering projects of this nature planned and executed the delivery whilst mitigating risks and constraints. Merson were delighted to work on this project and we are very pleased to have played a small part in the airport’s ongoing passenger improvements programme.”
This project was a huge success for Merson and the Airport Operator, and recent images of the wall in action prove it to be a worthwhile investment for our client. It is now viewed by hundreds of passengers daily and will be a key feature of the Departure Lounge for many years to come.