In 2014 Playhouse Square, a major not-for-profit performing arts center in the US, Ohio, underwent an ambitious transformation aimed to distinguish its historical identity. The symbols of Playhouse Square – vertical sign, marquees and news tickers – were replaced with high-brightness and energy-efficient LED signage.
As part of the project, the luxury of theater interiors was transposed into the neighboring streets, combining recent technologies with exquisite styling.
For the project, seven double-sided, 1.8 m high Barco's LCD72ox displays were deployed. Encased in luxurious frames topped by griffins, the displays are fully configurable and ideal for communicating performance times, as well as sponsors’ promotions. The kiosks are equipped with the range of options that allow for audience interaction: touch technology, cameras for audience measurement and gesture control, NFC, WiFi, and Bluetooth. Being fully compatible with the latest mobile devices and social media, the kiosks provide truly engaging personalized experience.
“Given the multitude of ever-changing programming that occurs within the various theaters, a digital platform was the ideal solution,” Barnycz notes. “And every screen at Playhouse Square is interactive so that during the big events people can get involved. The whole thing feels alive, letting people be part of the experience.”
For the digital marquees and the stylish pylon (“stylon”) located in the heart of Bank Plaza, Barco’s C8 outdoor LED tiles featuring 8.3 mm pixel pitch were used. The stylon is a 9 m high linear LED video screen that is encased in a unique frame, ornamented with hand-carved sculptural elements. Apart from being eye-catching advertising tool, the stylon can be transformed into creative ground for artists to showcase their work on its digital canvas.
The four double-sided, high-tech digital marquees represent four main theaters in the district. Installed above the pedestrian level, the marquees allow immediate programming updates.
In addition, C8 tiles were also used to create a three faceted, 8 mm full-colour LED news ticker on the Idea Center building as well as a ribbon screen on the Hanna Building.
Experiential design firm Barnycz Group led by Chief Creatologist, Danny Barnycz, delivered the project. The digital platform, developed by Barnycz Group, adds a flavor of modernity and functionality and yet remains perfectly fitted with the whole scene.
Cleveland's Playhouse Square is one of the most renowned theater districts in US with its history going back to 1920. Each year the Playhouse Square hosts more than 1000 events. The total cost of restoration is $55 million.