LED Home

A global fitness brand’s unique LED installation catches eyes in a familiar setting.
Design Communications Ltd.’s unique LED installation for Reebok.

Reebok wanted to be daring with the construction of a new, energetic LED wall installation for the world-wide fitness and apparel brand’s new global headquarters in Boston. Berlin-based design studio, FELD, and Design Communications Ltd. (DCL; Avon, MA) shared this vision, and helped bring it to reality. Now, visitors and employees are greeted each day with this dynamic wall installation.

“IMPULSE” DECISION

Located in the thriving Boston Seaport District, “Impulse” is a 12 x 28-ft. animated LED installation positioned in the lobby of Reebok’s new headquarters. The industrial panels have flow-patterned cutouts that originate from a deconstructed Reebok logo, which allow a custom-LED configuration to shine through. Although the materials appear heavy, the soft glow of the LEDs and subtle transitions bring a harmonizing feel to the space.

Impulse was inspired by the contrast of the industrial building and flowing movement of the nearby waterfront, where sharp cutouts and edges of the aluminum wall meet a soft and organic animation of custom LEDs. The large-scale spatial installation simulates flow fields – illuminating visualizations of energy and movement– with swirling waves and interactions of material and light. The design reinforces Reebok’s mission of forgoing stagnation while striving for innovation.

THE ELECTRIC CONNECTION

When FELD sought out a partner to collaborate on building the concept for Reebok, they didn’t have to look too far. The very same space that Reebok was moving into was DCL’s previous headquarters. DCL had called 25 Drydock Ave. home for more than 30 years, but due to consistent growth, we required additional manufacturing space and relocated to the Greater Boston area in Avon, MA, more than doubling our facility capacity to 155,000 sq. ft.

The display was designed not only to add interest to the space, but also to allow easy maintenance access for years to come.
The display was designed not only to add interest to the space, but also to allow easy maintenance access for years to come.

DCL’s intimate knowledge of our old space – from the large industrial columns fluting to the ceiling, to the expansive glass windows overlooking the busy harbor, to the bustling feet of Boston locals, and even the practical awareness of moving large components from floor to floor – made us the perfect partner for this experiential project. Where FELD had a knack for simplicity, technology and unifying Reebok’s mission with experience, we brought our engineering, fabrication and installation expertise to a familiar location.

SHADES OF WHITE

Selecting the correct lighting for a project requires knowledge of perception, technology and the physical parameters. Careful consideration had to be taken due to the display wall’s location directly opposite a floor-to-ceiling window façade. The wall would face considerable light interference during the day, but would be completely clear during the evening. The design team also took into account the distance between the wall and passersby, hence the cutouts in the wall and the amount of LED illumination that was adjusted for the desired impact.

A custom solution using a combination of three rows of diodes – a mix of warm white and cool white – proved to be the perfect balance to offset light interference and provide a natural look against the cool industrial wall. The wall comprises 1,050 individual LEDs mounted to an enhanced PVC carrier, then diffused through an Acrylite 3/16-in. 0D010 Satinice polycarbonate sheet behind a CNC-routed aluminum face. All of the materials come together for a seamless graphic display that embodies simplicity.

A TOUCH OF GRAY

DCL prototyped several construction methods, including mounting systems involving blocks and adhesives. After consideration, those methods were passed over in favor of a custom “sandwich” solution that fulfills all of the design criteria, notably the ability to service the modules and provide an easier solution for fabrication and installation. A faux cold-rolled steel finish was applied to the aluminum panels, and the textured surface was created with a phosphate undercoat and black-tint topcoat. The solution allowed the design intent to be realized while keeping an eye on material cost, weight and installation.

The wall was completed with a custom Reebok logo, 1.5-in.-deep aluminum reverse channel letters with polycarbonate backing and halo-lit with a red hue. It provides a focused contrast to the ambient, animated LED background, a nice final touch on a meaningful project for DCL in our old home.


EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES

Software: AutoCAD, autodesk.com
Hardware: Enttec USB Lighting Interface, enttec.com
Lighting: Sunrise Systems LEDs, sunrisesystems.com
Router: MWXS WaterJet, MC Machinery Systems Inc., mcmachinery.com
Substrates: Acrylite polycarbonate sheeting, acrylite.co; aluminum 
Paint: Matthews Paint, matthewspaint.com

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Signs of the Times September 2019

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