Look Up in the Sky—It's a Massively Immersive Digital Ceiling

The massive digital LED ceiling at Printworks in Manchester.
(Image credit: Printworks)

The transformation of Manchester’s Printworks is complete. More than 10,000 square feet of LED cover the ceiling, bringing a new experience to the "leisure scheme" visitors. The new digital ceiling is comprised of over 10,720,900 pixels and nearly 400 feet (115 meters) in length and continually transforms to suit varying audiences and align with live events and brand activations taking place.

The screen itself features a new fire-rated LED product developed by ADI to pass the highest safety standards. The MTF range—a next-generation lightweight and slimline product—was designed specifically with interior architectural applications in mind. 

"The project has not been without challenges given the scale and complexity," said Drew Burrow, head of bespoke and creative at ADI. "The digital ceiling is made of three separate mega screens that are unusually shaped and at different heights to seamlessly integrate with the existing architecture. We also had to go through a rigorous R&D process—with intensive testing and prototype design—to develop an LED screen product that achieved the strict fire performance requirements for incorporating very large format displays into internal public spaces.

Green Hippo media servers were specified by ADI to drive video, lighting and audio play-out, while content scheduling and triggers are managed through a user-friendly Signage Live interface.

The massive digital LED ceiling at Printworks in Manchester.

(Image credit: Printworks)

In line with the future ambitions of Printworks, ADI will provide remote production and event broadcast services over their Live Venue network, which connects over 90 U.K. stadia and leisure destinations to its centralized production studios—based in Preston—over dedicated fiber connectivity.

ADI worked in partnership with award winning Manchester animation studio Flipbook to conceptualize and produce a huge variety of content-driven experiences for the ceiling, from vast AI generative animations to heart-stopping, story-led video. Every piece is designed to bring the huge digital canvas to life and evolve the experience for visitors, including seasonal extravaganzas and beautiful atmospheric content that develop the venue into a must-see attraction.

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Along with the LED ceiling, digital signage and large-format screens have been installed by ADI across the interior and exterior façade of Printworks. These include a giant interactive gaming screen as well as other new features such as Wayfinders and high-level LED ribbon, which will engage visitors and enhance their experience, while supporting tenant trade. 

“This transformation is without precedent and is a game changer for the U.K. leisure sector," said Ben Haller from DTZ Investors commented. "We’ve created something unique at Printworks which will continue to entertain domestic and international visitors for years to come. This has only been possible due to the dedication and commitment from a large professional team, overcoming many challenges through the last five years from inception to delivery.   

“Printworks has been a successful and resilient scheme since opening, over 20 years ago.  DTZ Investors is responding to the changes seen in the way consumers spend their leisure time and the high expectations placed upon such entertainment destinations.  Advancements in technology have enabled us to innovate and strengthen the Printworks brand to ensure it remains at the forefront of U.K. leisure.”

The AVNetwork staff are storytellers focused on the professional audiovisual and technology industry. Their mission is to keep readers up-to-date on the latest AV/IT industry and product news, emerging trends, and inspiring installations.