DEFR

Printworks Manchester Digital Ceiling

PRINTWORKS

ADI INSTALL THE LARGEST LED CEILING IN EUROPE AT MANCHESTER'S LEADING LEISURE DESTINATION

Aim:

Manchester’s landmark leisure scheme has undergone a multi-million-pound transformation featuring a unique piece of media architecture. With a vision from DTZ Investors to enliven and re-energise this iconic building, the largest digital ceiling in Europe is part of a wider refurbishment and enhancement of the venue.

With involvement from early in the project, ADI worked closely with managing agent Cushman & Wakefield to bring the vision to life within the practicalities of a public space. ADI’s diverse expertise allowed us to deliver the centrepiece 1,000m² digital ceiling, LED canvases and sophisticated AV integration across the building’s interior and exterior, while also playing a vital role in creating and managing the content-driven experiences and immersive environment that evolves from day to night.

Services:

AV Integration
Consultancy
Content Creation
Content Playout
Digital Signage
LCD Wayfinders
LED Screen Manufacture
LED Screen Installation
Live Venue Connectivity
Scheduling and Screen Operation
Service and Maintenance
Project Management
Visualisation

Manchester, UK

Consultancy and Conceptualisation

From an early stage, ADI provided consultancy on the project, helping the customer to understand the possibilities of LED hardware and to define the technological and creative parameters of the project.

Our Visualisers and Editors helped bring early concepts to life by working up 3D models and video renders to allow all stakeholders to understand how the vast screens and ceiling could look from multiple viewpoints inside the venue.

Working in partnership with CDA Architects, ADI designed the bespoke digital canvases and supporting framework – and even developed a completely new LED screen product – to meet the specific architectural and venue safety requirements at Printworks.

The project has not been without challenges given the scale and complexity; the digital ceiling is made of three separate mega screens that are unusually shaped and at different heights to seamlessly integrate with the existing architecture. We also had to go through a rigorous R&D process - with intensive testing and prototype design - to develop an LED screen product that achieved the strict fire performance requirements for incorporating very large format displays into internal public spaces.

The Largest Digital Ceiling in Europe

The new 1,000m² LED ceiling – containing over 10,720,900 pixels and around 115 metres in length – is the centrepiece of the refurbishment. Covering the scheme’s internal streets, which feature over 20 bars, restaurants and leisure tenants, it allows the ambience inside Printworks to continually transform to suit varying audiences and align with live events and brand activations taking place.

This innovative media architecture comprises three separate mega screens, each unusually shaped and of differing heights to support a seamless retrofit with the historic Printworks building.

Powerful Green Hippo media servers were specified by ADI to drive video, lighting and audio play-out, while content scheduling and triggers are managed through Brightsign players with a user-friendly Signagelive interface.

A World First In Fire Safety

With the entire venue ceiling to be made up of LED, the project parameters specified an installation that would pass the latest BSEN 13501-1 classification – a set of rules to ensure levels of fire resistance within construction products and building materials.

This type of product didn’t exist, so we decided to make it ourselves! Our MTF tile is based upon a heavily redeveloped version of our innovative MT product family – a next-generation lightweight and slimline product designed specifically with interior architectural applications in mind.

Having gone through two separate round of stringent flammability testing, MTF became the world’s first LED module certified to meet the BSEN 13501-1 classification.

Essentially, this means that – in the event of a fire in the venue – MTF will not contribute to the fire spreading further, nor will it melt and risk injury through dripping materials.

ADI’s team installed the huge screens during an extensive construction programme which has also seen new lighting and audio design, interior glazing and aesthetic enhancements to the period façade.

This project has been extremely exciting and ambitious given the scale and complexity; we also had the challenges of the global pandemic and the supply chain issues that followed as well as a bespoke digital ceiling, the largest in Europe. Despite this, what we have achieved is a digital destination not normally seen outside of America or Asia.

Immersive creative and content-driven experiences

Such a unique digital canvas demanded completely bespoke content to bring it to life. With the sheer scale and unusual shape of the digital ceiling, content must be designed to consider the non-traditional viewpoint.

ADI worked in partnership with award winning Manchester animation studio Flipbook to create content, with each party contributing different content-driven experiences for the rich and varied programme schedule created for launch, from vast AI generative animations to heart-stopping, story-led video.

Every piece is designed to evolve the experience for visitors, including seasonal extravaganzas and beautiful atmospheric content that develop the venue into a must-see attraction.

In the coming months more interactive experiences will be incorporated; the installation of heat mapping cameras throughout the venue will allow real time, audience-generated content to appear on the ceiling based on the movement and volume of people inside Printworks.

There are nearly 100 pieces of content ready for launch, and these range from live action filming to advanced 3D animation, through to AI-generated artwork and collaborations with international creatives. All of these pieces have been created to be experienced through the unique viewpoint below this giant digital canvas.

Wider Venue Digitalisation

In the region of 1,550 m² of LED ceiling, digital signage and large-format screens have been installed by ADI across the interior and exterior façade of Printworks. These include a giant 90m² interactive gaming screen in the centre of the venue, where visitors will be able to compete against each other or take part in interactive experiences. Other new features include Wayfinders, which provide guests with venue information, exclusive content and tenant promotions.

On the building’s exterior ADI have installed multiple large-format LED displays, most prominently the 112sqm media screen above the main Withy Grove entrance. Part of Ocean Outdoor’s DOOH network, this giant display provides a premium platform for brand advertisers in the heart of Manchester city centre.

ADI have also designed and installed 277sqm of digital ribbon along the Printwork’s roofline, comprising 14 individual screens that promote and elevate tenant brands using dynamic applications in digital signage.

This transformation is without precedent and is a game changer for the UK leisure sector. We’ve created something unique at Printworks which will continue to entertain domestic and international visitors for years to come. This has only been possible due to the dedication and commitment from a large professional team, overcoming many challenges through the last five years from inception to delivery.

Outcome:

Responding to evolving leisure trends with the creation of a unique technology-led experience, owner DTZ Investors has worked with key partners – including ADI – to deliver a true world of entertainment with a fully immersive and interactive environment, on a scale not found elsewhere in the UK.

The showpiece media architecture developed by ADI integrates with lighting, creative content and audio to deliver a unique experience that’s ever-changing for the 8 million visitors who pass through Printworks each year. The dramatic centrepiece is complemented by wider venue digitalisation and technical upgrades from ADI, helping drive footfall, promote tenants, boost commercialisation and most importantly create a must-see attraction in the heart of Manchester.

NEW PROJECT DELIVERED FOR

ADI unveil the largest digital ceiling in Europe as part of Manchester’s Printworks Transformation.

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