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Crowne Plaza Hotel Ushers in a New Age of Advertising

   Author: Jody Porowski
Location: Cambridge, MA

CAMBRIDGE, Md. (November 17, 2009) – For over half of a century, the Crowne Plaza hotel has held a prominent place in New York City’s Times Square and its exclusive location has made it a popular site for business conferences and vacationers alike. With more than 1.5 million people passing through Times Square each day, building exteriors in the popular area are prime real estate for advertising. To give the Crowne Plaza hotel exterior advertising space, while allowing guests views of Times Square from the interior of the building, Mediamesh®, a high-grade architectural woven stainless steel mesh fabric with interwoven LED profiles from GKD and ag4 media, was installed on the exterior of the hotel.

Installed at the main entrance of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the mesh media façade surface is constructed from 352 square feet of GKD’s Tigris mesh and 734 square feet of Mediamesh. This is the first transparent media façade on Times Square and the third in the United States.

“The biggest challenge during the project was trying to install the Mediamesh in such a crowded area. We ended up working at night when the traffic in Times Square had died down some. But I guess it’s a good problem to have when the point of the Mediamesh is to be in an area where many people can see it. This will definitely be seen,” said Leon Shockley, Director of Field Operations for GKD-USA.

Pleasing aesthetics from both sides of the screen along with high functionality were important criteria to the planners in selecting Mediamesh. The visual transparency of the façade offers an unhindered view of the lively activity in Times Square, but prevents passersby from looking into the lobby. From inside the building, the images, graphics and films created by the LED profiles integrated into the mesh are not visible, because the LED profiles are open only to the outside. And the nearly imperceptible cables and integrated electronic elements make the back of the woven media facade attractive, too.

Another advantage of Mediamesh is that the pixel spacing could be chosen from multiple options to achieve the desired resolution. On the front of the Crowne Plaza, three large mesh elements of approximately 36 x 10 feet each were put together to form a mesh façade that is nearly 1080 square feet in size. The panel is secured at the top and bottom with rods and eye bolts. Because the panel is also viewed from close up, the resolution had to be relatively high, with pixel spacing of 30 mm vertically and 42.5 mm horizontally. This enables everything that can be shown on a computer screen – animated images, video sequences, simulcasts or complicated graphics – to be presented around the clock in the highest image quality on the Mediamesh.

With proven sun protection, the woven membrane also optimizes the climate in the foyer. Staunch resistance to rain, sun, wind and cold, zero maintenance and, of course, the low energy consumption of 1/6 less than conventional displays, contribute to making this a sustainable facility.

“Crowne Plaza hotel was thrilled with the final product. You can see the advertisements both up close and as far as two blocks down the street. We couldn’t be more pleased with how the project turned out. Everyone is really excited,” said Mike Leonard, designer for GKD-USA.

Mediamesh demonstrates the potential of communication platforms integrated into architecture with innovative media façade. The premiere guests at the Crowne Plaza Times Square marveled at the transparent mesh in front of the luxury hotel and were astonished when the facade became a display for video clips and advertising campaigns. The guests in the hotel lobby were able to see clearly through the screen but remained discreetly in the background. The advertising income generated from Crowne Plaza’s Mediamesh is expected to recoup the total investment expense within one year.

With a 75-year tradition of German engineering, precision manufacturing and technical innovation, GKD has evolved a collection of extraordinary woven metal fabrics engineered for the architecture and design communities. The MetalFabrics™ are produced in various weights, textures, and degrees of transparency and flexibility and are specified by internationally renowned architects and designers in interior and exterior applications worldwide.

About ag4
As an owner-managed company, ag4 bundles the expertise of its own architects and media specialists in the discipline of “mediatecture” – invented by ag4 itself. In collaboration with experts for multimedia, urban planning and communications, ag4 develops integrated solutions for media facades. Renowned reference projects speak for the company’s integrated competence.

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