View from the Top

TK Elevator LED Mesh Display
(Image credit: TKE)

If you want to make a statement—a big, bold, and bright statement—there’s probably no better way than placing a large LED display on a part of your building. That’s exactly what TK Elevator (TKE) did for its new headquarters in Atlanta, which opened in February 2022 and features an eye-catching LED mesh display on the tallest elevator test tower in North America.

[The Great Outdoors]

“TK Elevator chose our unique location in The Battery Atlanta in order to raise brand awareness and also to make our home in a vibrant community,” said Sasha Bailey, TKE senior director, communication, North America. “Once the site was chosen, we worked on ways to maximize our exposure, and the LED mesh became a focal point within our project team, which included global architecture and design powerhouse Gensler.”

Let Me See

TK Elevator

(Image credit: TKE)

The massive project came together in five months. The basic idea was a digital display that could be seen from outside of the building but would not disturb those working inside. It's the same concept as mesh banner advertising placed over bus windows, which displays messages outside the vehicle while allowing passengers to see outside the windows.

According to Kurt DeYoung, chief revenue officer for Nanolumens, the Brand Design division of Gensler Architecture collaborated with Nanolumens to outfit TKE’s new 420-foot Innovation and Qualification Center (IQC) with an LED mesh canvas that displays the TKE logo, brand messaging, and animations. TKE tests its new elevator technologies in the IQC using 18 elevator test towers.

 “At 420 feet, the IQC and test tower is the tallest building in Cobb County, so it is very visible,” said Bailey. “Factor that with one of TK Elevator’s key principles—transparency—and it became a winning idea with an eight-story blank canvas to tell our story and be part of our community.”

Julian Philips, AVI-SPL

Julian Philips (Image credit: AVI-SPL)

The display is built from 11,000 square feet of Nanolumens CLRVU LED mesh installed on the interior of the IQC building, directly behind the glass windows. To assemble the IP65-rated display, TKE brought in AVI-SPL’s Experience Technology Group (XTG), which was formed as a business by AVI-SPL in January 2022.

[Moving Day for KWTV]

“Everyone realized that this was going to be a complex project,” said Julian Phillips, senior vice president and managing director for the XTG. “While Nanolumens was engaged by the design firm, our brand experience partner Czarnowski brought us in to support the project, which included the lobby showroom in the main building and the mesh LEDs on the three sides of the building.”

Let's Hang

“It’s just so large,” said DeYoung. “From a resolution perspective, there’s not that many LEDs, just a few hundred thousand, but it’s visible all the time. The scale was massive and it was complicated. It was a team effort of vision and functionality that was really an engineering project.”

Put simply, the mesh was mounted inside the glazing by Atlanta Rigging Systems and hosted structurally by the curtain wall mullions, the slender vertical members that form the division between the windows. But it’s actually a bit more complex than that.

Doug Dieringer, AVI-SPL

Doug Dieringer (Image credit: AVI-SPL)

“There are 18 different assemblies, including nine different LED bar widths ranging from 460-1,340mm and two different heights for each width, with assemblies that are 9-bars and 11-bars per assembly,” explained Doug Dieringer, director of engineering for XTG. “The LED spacing on each bar is 20mm, with bar spacing of 75mm. The input resolution of 1682x1669 is squeezed 1:3.75 for a virtual resolution of 1682x445 in order to appear in the correct aspect ratio when played back on the building and mullion gaps, as they represent gaps in the content requiring offsets at each daylight opening, which are the individual panes of glass. The ‘TKE Grid’ shows the input template with blue lines filling missing pixels at the mullion gaps.”

TK Elevator Nanolumens LED mesh

AVI-SPL's Experience Technology Group and Atlanta Rigging Systems worked to make sure that the mounting points for the CRLVU LED mesh were correct. (Image credit: Nanolumens)

Of course, once something is put in place, you have to be able to maintain it. Each assembly has removable—pin hinges on both sides, so they can swing out from the glass from either side or be removed completely by removing all four hinge pins. Dieringer said this allows for unfettered access to the curtain wall glass for biennial cleaning. 

[Above It All]

During the project’s concept design phase, Nanolumens’ Special Projects Group (SPG) made several modifications so the mesh control boxes and cable runs would become part of the architecture and not be visible. Traditionally, each section of mesh has 20 LED bars with power and data running through it. The SPG reconstructed the CLRVU display to sister up with the window mullions and hide the power distribution alongside the bars to be more aesthetically pleasing.

Content Creation

“TKE has a full-time content creator on staff to help us manage not only the LED mesh content, but also the digital experience in our visitor showroom on the first floor of the facility,” said Bailey. “The tower imagery changes depending on the timely and relevant content that we can provide. For instance, recently we added a Martin Luther King Jr. Day recognition to our playlist.”

Kurt DeYoung, Nanolumens

Kurt DeYoung (Image credit: Nanolumens)

The master control room is located at the top of the mesh on the 24th floor, with show control for the mesh handled by TouchDesigner with a BrightSign failover. “If the Seneca PC running TouchDesigner does not respond, the system will automatically failover to BrightSign, which has the content,” said DeYoung. “When the Seneca PC is back online, the system will automatically fallback.”

[The Mountains Are Calling]

High-end displays aren't only visible outside the building at TKE. Other smaller Nanolumens LED installations include a video wall at the mezzanine level that overlooks the elevator shaft and the city, with a pair of displays and a BrightSign player, plus displays in three conference rooms.

The showroom in the lobby is intended for lobby visitors and those having a meeting with TKE, who can take them into a specific area of the showroom or on a full or partial tour. “It’s a mix of analog and digital, like a museum showing the workflow of mechanical devices,” DeYoung explained. “A Crestron controller handles how the scale models work, with a Navori Labs CMS system feeding content to another BrightSign system. Content is in a loop but has cut-in ability from touch enabled monitors.”

There are six segments in the showroom, each featuring a different part of TKE’s activities, such as construction, modernization, and maintenance. “One segment has a Nanolumens display with L-Acoustics immersive sound," Dieringer noted, "while some segments are as simple as a large format monitor with a touchscreen controller below or just a touchscreen monitor.”

Michael Silbergleid

Michael Silbergleid serves as president of Silverknight Consulting in Fort Myers, FL, a strategic communications firm serving the broadcast and media industries since 1999.