Audiovisual technology is profoundly transforming the modern travel experience, turning traditional wait times into times of engagement at forward-looking airports around the world—most recently at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which just completed a $200 million renovation and expansion of its Concourse A. The nine-gate, 229,807-square-foot addition is the first completed project under the Destination CLT initiative, a $2.5 billion capital investment program to renovate the concourses and expand CLT's roadways, curb front, airfield, and terminal.
The Concourse A expansion features ENGAGE Series and Performance Series LED displays from NanoLumens and renowned digital artist Refik Anadol’s unique “data sculptures” that turn the airport’s invisible patterns of data into captivating content featured on the three NanoLumens displays. This alluring installation, dubbed “Interconnected,” is a part of a total commitment by the airport to reimagine modern travel through the eyes of compelling and immersive digital experiences.
Frank Milesky of Cenero, the integration firm that from the beginning approached the installation as a fusion of technology, art, and design, explained that, “The goal here was to seamlessly integrate digital artwork that reflects the movement and traffic of the airport, essentially the airport’s data culture, into the architecture of the new concourse. This install isn’t merely about displaying content, it’s about changing the entire passenger experience at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.”
- To properly communicate this unique artwork’s intended message, the install required one NanoLumens 2.5mm ENGAGE Series LED display and two 4.7mm Performance Series displays.
- The airport was originally considering projection technology for this project but from previous experience Anadol knew that only LED display technology could properly handle what is being described as one of the largest data sculpture visualizations in the world.
- “Once we picked Refik as the artist to do this project we presented the NanoLumens solutions to him and he immediately knew their displays would be perfect for this project and for his artwork,” said Marcus Mitchell, program director for the Arts & Science Council, the organization that ran this project on behalf of the airport.
The centerpiece display for Interconnected is a 2.5mm NanoLumens ENGAGE Series LED display that sits inside the airport’s Concourse A and stretches 140 feet wide by 10 feet high. Mitchell added that the details surrounding exactly where this display was being placed also played a major role in the decision to go with NanoLumens.“The largest display runs down a big part of the new Concourse A, which has windows lining the other side, so it can also be seen by people driving past as well as walking up to the airport from the outside,” he said. “The fact that NanoLumens displays provide such a high-definition image viewed up close, as well as the brightness to be seen outside by people in cars whizzing by, provided us with the greatest possible impact.”
Dave Hunt, president of DG Hunt & Associates, the project management company that worked as the liaison between Refik and NanoLumens for this project, added, “Refik’s art was such a great fit for NanoLumens, not only because of the way the NanoLumens products capture the richness and depth of the art, but because there needed to be this collaborative partnership in place to develop this finely tuned display that would perfectly match the specs of Refik’s work, and the NanoLumens team just excelled at making sure this harmonious relationship existed.”
Another challenge for Cenero was making sure a screen this large would display a seamless image without bezels and also handle all daytime ambient light coming in through the concourse’s many windows.
Cenero installed two additional 4.7mm NanoLumens Performance Series displays in oddly shaped corners in the gates located at the end of Concourse A that are also visible both inside and outside the airport. The trapezoid-shaped displays measure approximately 28x15 feet in one corner and 40x19 feet in the other corner.
Each of these displays also run 24 hours a day and is synchronized with the larger concourse display as each has its own distinct visual chapter.
“This installation is grabbing travelers’ attention before they even enter the airport, as it is clearly visible from the parking garage and street across from the new concourse,” said NanoLumens Southeast regional sales director, Arch Nelson. “We have clearly moved beyond the days of what static signage can do and this project is a perfect marriage of Refik’s amazing digital artwork and the state-of-the-art display technology from NanoLumens.”For the more than 44 million travelers who move through Charlotte Douglas International Airport annually, Refik’s Interconnected will surely leave a lasting impression.
As for the artist himself, Refik added, “The artwork being displayed is constantly changing and evolving as it responds to the ever-changing flow of data, creating a living snapshot of the invisible patterns that surrounds us as we travel to, from, and within Charlotte Douglas International Airport.“
Photo Credit: Rich Taylor Photography | www.richtaylorphoto.com | @richtaylorphoto