Case Study - The curved staircase display

17 Dec 2020

Every once in a while, we’ll be set a unique challenge that requires us to truly break out our thinking caps and solve a problem that we’d never even considered. 

Just such a challenge was made (and accepted) recently, when Spectra was tasked with designing and building a curved LED Video Wall to line up alongside a curved staircase for a high street retailer.

The piece would form the ‘show-stopping’ central feature of their latest redevelopment and would need to be engineered with a series of flat, curved, and right-angled sections to ensure a seamless display that wrapped around the wall and staircase in one elegant sweep.

It was a tall order but it’s just the kind of challenge Spectra was made for, having spent 31 years offering the very best forward-thinking engineering experience to our clients. 

A little bit about the screen

The screen is a dynamic, breathtaking and cutting-edge display made up of multiple separate LED panels that are either curved, flat or right-angled. 

All panels, however, display the same fine pixel pitch, which gives it an incredibly dense and high definition 1440p resolution over 60m2 of display total. 

The content on the screen will be controlled by four dedicated 4K video controllers, all of which are uniquely mapped to get the content mapped onto such a complex-shaped screen.

As the overall screen is composed of dozens of separate panels, it was easier to transport to the site than you might think, with the entire construction comfortably loaded onto a single vehicle.

The practicalities - At Spectra, our engineers have decades of experience in making the impossible possible, with technical skills that are unmatched in the sector. 

Our engineers have a wealth of experience in more complicated jobs. Some relevant examples include a flexible LED display for an art project in Newport and a giant digital display for Primark’s flagship London store with over 6.9 million LEDs, which was built into an existing lift wall.

The design - The brief was for a specialist engineered solution for a curved staircase at a retail store in a high profile European location and required a bespoke design with a fine pixel pitch. 

It was a technically demanding project that called for close collaboration between our team and the client, with both sides needing to bring their expertise, wants, and needs to the table to get the project off the ground.

 We settled on a mixture of straight sections, right-angle joins and smooth curves to complete the display, which also needed to follow a curved staircase. 

Of course, to produce a screen that was able to fit seamlessly to a staircase required huge amounts of effort and design talent, as the spec drawing below should prove with the solution being fully 3D modelled by our engineers early in the process.

3D modelled spec drawing

The deadline - Once the client signed off on the design, the lead time to supply the display for installation before the flagship store was due to be opened was pretty short.

However, Spectra still managed to bring the project in two weeks early without compromising on quality or design. This was due not only to the great deal of work being done on both sides but the communication between the teams. 

Given that this was achieved despite the complications arising from COVID-19 and subsequent restrictions was a minor miracle of collaboration and craft.

A project like this is all about being on the same page as the client when it comes to design, budgets and the all-important result. That means keeping an open and transparent line of communication open between the project managers and the client at all times. With a project such as this, where we were trying to achieve something that had never really been done before in this manner, it was more important than ever that we were able to work together to achieve the right solution for the client.


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