Always Forever (21) Now
Only passersby that stare fixedly at the sidewalk could’ve missed the new, gigantic Forever 21 display in Times Square. Before the superstore opened in the former home of the Virgin Megastore in late June, the display served as a clock that counted down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the fashion chain opened its doors.
The 91,257-sq.-ft. megastore makes Forever 21’s Times Square location the largest single-brand apparel store in Manhattan. The Los Angeles-based, low-priced fashion retailer has expanded from a clothing boutique into a department store. Teens still swarm piles of inexpensive, faux-high-fashion party dresses and tank tops, but the cavernous, spot, near 46th and Broadway, is forcing the chain into such new categories as menswear, children’s clothing and beauty. The store spans four floors and the equivalent of 1.5 football fields. The modestly sized street-level entrance leads to three subterranean floors.
In keeping the company goal of making the store “an experience, not just a store you see in a shopping mall,” D3 LED (NYC and Rancho Cordova, CA) created a screen configuration that’s unique even for Times Square. A 21-ft.-high, LED-lit, “21” pierces through the 1,380-sq.-ft. center display. The main screen and the “21” feature a combination of 8- and 40mm resolutions. Below the main screen, 7-ft.-tall, animated letters spell “Forever” with 40mm LED-display clusters. The canopy, which extends from the exterior to the interior, is covered in 10mm SMD LEDs.
On the opposite ends of the main entrance, a 10mm LED display rises 20 ft. up the façade. An edge frame, which wraps the main screen and descends to street level, employs 20mm LED display modules.
What “Forever” changes the Times Square display is interactive content. Minneapolis-based Space 150, a content and interactive-development company, worked with D3 managing partner Meric Adriansen to configure the system hardware/control systems and integrate the content.
The display shows a live shot of the street in front of the store. A model walks onto the screen and takes photos of the crowd, and the screen displays the images. The model also plops passersby into a Forever 21 bag and tucks them inside her hat.
Incidentally, across the street, American Eagle Outfitters, last November, had outfitted its four-floor, 25,000-sq.-ft. store’s façade with a gigantic videoscreen that also projects customer photos.
The Times Square location won’t be Forever 21’s biggest for long. Later this year, it plans to open a 120,000-sq.-ft. store in Las Vegas.