NanoLumens Fuses Technology, Art and Design at Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Aug. 28, 2018

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 , award-winning creators of uniquely compelling LED visualization solutions in any size, shape, or curvature — and renown digital artist Refik Anadol’s unique “data sculptures” that turn the airport’s invisible patterns of data into captivating and ever-changing 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 who 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,” Milesky explained. “This install isn’t merely about displaying content, it’s about changing the entire passenger experience at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.”

Cenero knew the “experience changing” part of the equation would be expertly handled by NanoLumens displays, and to properly communicate this unique artwork’s intended message, the install would require 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 NanoLumens 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,” explained 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 explained. “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.”

The NanoLumens ENGAGE Series displays are an ideal solution for any area where crisp images and close-up viewing are required. And unlike traditional displays which are heavy and difficult to support, ENGAGE Series displays can be installed and front serviced, and require no fans or air conditioning.

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.

“The main display is huge, and because it is visible both inside and outside the airport the high brightness quality of the NanoLumens displays was essential here,” Cenero added. “NanoLumens was actually the perfect solution for this particular high-definition digital art content as the image quality is brilliant and seamless and it truly needed to be for the nature of the artwork.”

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.

NanoLumens Performance Series displays are optimized for flat installations and high brightness, and transform the way the viewer is engaged. At just over 3-inches deep (approximately 79mm), these ultra-thin displays create perfect corners and are available in any size with pixel pitches ranging from 3-9mm.

Each of these displays also run 24-hours a day and are synchronized with the larger concourse display as each has its own distinct visual chapter.

The continuing trend of audiovisual technology turning the time spent at airports into a memorable part of the overall travel experience is on display in a new and exciting way at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

“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,” added 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 over 44-million travelers that 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.“

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