This project played to all our strengths as design, digital, cladding and signage experts along with our extensive capabilities in contract management. Having previously implemented a unique public realm wayfinding scheme for the Paddington Central area on behalf of our key client, British Land, we were appointed to deliver a large format digital screen to engage, inform and entertain users of the amphitheater in the popular locale, further raising the profile of the mixed-use campus.
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The initial concept was by Feix and Merlin Architects and featured a curved DOOH (digital out of home) screen, highly stylised wooden cladding and mounting on large gabions to remain in keeping with other elements of the area which take inspiration from movement in light and feature natural
materials to promote a feeling of wellbeing amongst users.We were appointed to carry out the detailed construction design, which faithfully followed the design intent but substituted 10-year life wood-look aluminium cladding for real timber to reduce maintenance costs and ensure the installation looked as good in 10-years as it did right after installation.
Ross Cloughley, our lead designer on the project, rose to the challenge of fulfilling the architects design intent while making the structure robust, fully engineer certified, attractive and suitable for transporting into this busy, hard to access site in central London. Achieving the curved steelwork & cladding was particularly challenging to design but also had its manufacturing complexities. Modularised construction was a key part of the design team’s strategy, but we pulled it off to the satisfaction of all parties involved.
For the screen itself, we chose a Lighthouse Outdoor IP66 rated display with a 6mm Outdoor Pixel Pitch screen with an LED display of 6000nits for sunlight visible video and a highly sophisticated directional sound system to reduce noise pollution. The screen has a high refresh rate allowing for video capture at events with dynamic, correct brightness control due to the residential and commercial area in immediate vicinity.
It took our contract management team almost 2 weeks on site to complete the installation due to its complexities. However, prior to the structure being transported in kit format to its destination, the frame was fully assembled in house to ensure the alignment of screen tiles and cladding then full testing was carried out to ensure that everything was working order to avoid unnecessary delays on site. There were many restrictions to observe including weight capacity constraints, which involved extensive negotiations with the structural engineer for the client. Arrangements for 2 x 40 tonne cranes over 2 weekend lifts had to be made to lessen the risk associated with high numbers of pedestrians from nearby office buildings mid-week and access for emergency vehicles also had to be organised.
The frame arrived from our factory in 2 halves. On the first weekend on-site, we had a four-hour window to lift the bottom half to the assembly location then the top half was bolted on after being lifted into position. In the following days, the cladding and screens were then fitted to the frame. On the second weekend, the legs were fitted into the foundations then the fully assembled unit was lifted onto the legs to take its permanent position. Again, this was done within a 4-hour period. Lastly the legs were clad to complete the finish to the agreed specification.
The new screen now stands 8.7m wide by 7.8m tall and is a centrepiece alongside the newly unveiled, colourful public art piece ‘Abundance’ by Adam Nathaniel Furman. Both are already being enjoyed and admired by a diverse audience acting as the magnetic focal point that British Land were looking to create. @Guy Smith, Commercialisation Manager at British Land summed up his impression of the screen commenting, “It’s been a real labour of love and I think it looks stunning paired with our recently redeveloped amphitheatre”.
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