eFour offered Autostadt a custom-designed LED solution of 800 linear meters of video-controlled diffused LED tube that cover over 2.000 square meters of building façade, with all LED tubes in custom lengths that fill the exact height of each window frame in the façade.
Autostadt, the visitor attraction centre adjacent to the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, features a main façade with an integrated neon installation that needed to be replaced.
The new installation had to adhere to three major design criteria: 1.) Simulate the original neon installation 2.) Blend seamlessly with the building’s clean and modern architecture and 3.) Remain true to Volkswagen’s values of environmental protection and sustainable development.
“The Autostadt team was specifically looking for an LED solution that would offer them sophisticated video technology capabilities and also blend seamlessly with the existing structure of the building,” says Claas Ernst, eFour’s Founder and CEO. “They wanted an installation with full video control and colour blending ability in order to convert the modern steel and glass into a true media façade.”
eFour collaborated with Autostadt and provided a custom designed LED solution consisting of 800 linear meters of video-controlled diffused LED tube that covers over 2.000 square meters of building façade. All LED tubes were custom lengths filling the exact height of each window frame. The tubes were placed vertically across the façade forming a vast low-resolution screen capable of displaying abstract visuals, color fades, as well as text and video graphics.
One major design criteria for the install was to simulate the finish of the original neon tube installation. It was requested to cover the single LED video pixel with a diffusion material that is backlit to look just like neon-tubes.
The façade features tubes each 230cm in length with 90 individual video-controllable pixels using high quality NICHIA 3-in-1 SMD LEDs per tube. The façade consists of over 30.000 individually controllable pixels.
The result is a state-of-the-art installation with full video capabilities that saves over 70% in energy and maintenance costs compared to the outlays associated with the original.
The new installation delivers a color depth of over 1 billion colours due to proprietary video control that uses 30bit pixel control. It has an impressively low power consumption of only 25W per tube. For a large part of the year the installation remains white in color to simulate the original neon installation. Since the entire LED system is based on sophisticated video processing technology with full color correction capability it was possible to program it to exactly simulate the color tone of the prior white neon.
Using a Pandoras Box Media Server system as the video source, Autostadt decided to integrate the façade into the communication mix for seasonal events. It takes full advantage of its video control capabilities to display custom-created content when supporting special occasions such as the company’s Winter Event, the Movimentos Festival weeks and the Christmas Season. During the holidays, the display is used as a countdown to Christmas Eve against a twinkling background.
To obtain a clean minimalist look that blends with the building’s sleek design, each tube (measuring 35mm in width and 80mm in height) was mounted to be ‘self supportive’ inside the window frames without any need for secondary support structures. The custom designed mounting brackets and cable covers match in color and texture to the building’s own metal construction, resulting in a perfectly integrated, highly transparent and elegant installation.
“We are very proud to have been chosen by the Autostadt team to deliver this beautiful architectural vision, which allowed us to show just a fraction of our technical capabilities. With our experience, flexibility and attention to detail we convinced Autostadt that eFour would be the best partner to deliver this unique video installation based on their very specific requirements. We are proud today to see the Autostadt team absolutely satisfied with the way we managed the project, the combined team effort with other companies involved in the project, the smooth integration and the spectacular final result.” Ernst concludes.
Key Project Facts:
TECHNOLOGY USED: 336 custom designed and manufactured eFour LED video tubes (total of 800 running meters)