Competing against more established fashion brands, the US retailer Forever21 was relatively unknown within the UK market and had to make a big impression with its first UK store. The vast store frontage offered an opportunity to create a high visual impact using NEC video wall technology with specialist integrator, Decorum-Technology and mount solution provider Unicol.

The video wall was to be part of the shop front and was required to fill a huge area, two storeys high, alongside the store entrance. Forming the physical shop frontage, issues of security and longevity were paramount, the screens would need to be robust enough to withstand physical assault to ensure continued peak performance with easy access for maintenance. An additional glass frontage would be costly and would pose a problem for cleaning due to the close proximity of the video wall. The sheer size and unique configuration of the project required extreme adaptability, and presented a challenge in terms of installing and mounting the screens in a 3 x 7 portrait configuration. With no wall for attachment, the project required a bespoke mounting system which was custom designed and built by Unicol.

“As with many AV installations the timescale was tight and from site survey to the design being signed off by the US-based architects it took only 4 days with delivery and the installation commencement 9 days later” said Rachel Hunt, Unicol Marketing Director.

The Unicol video wall mounting system used columns as a framework to fix the individual videowall mounts to. The installation required 21 NEC 46” screens mounted 3 wide and 7 high in portrait orientation. This meant that the structure had to be 8 metres high using 2 sets of 2 x 4m columns coupled together. The mount for each screen had adjustment in all planes built in as standard, which allowed the screens to be butted accurately to one another. Before the column structure was lifted into place the screen mount back plates were roughly positioned using a unique clamping system that slid along the columns, designed specifically for the video wall. The whole structure was then lifted and bolted into place.

Nexus-on-Demand used the Option Slot for DVI Daisy Chain boards to split the screens and the videowall was driven by a 10MP PC player to produce outstanding resolution. The Video Capture Gesture technology was supplied by US manufacturer Space 150 and caused quite a sensation when shoppers walking past the videowall witnessed the whole content moving in their direction of travel. Footmarks were placed on the concourse for people to stand on and replicate the swipe of a smart phone to make the content travel from side to side using their hand movements.

Very tight timescales imposed by the retailer meant that all parties had to move quickly to support the project. NEC’s unique status as a Total Solutions Provider is based upon its experience, knowledge and close working relationship with its Solutions Providers - a network within which both Nexus On-Demand and Unicol are long established associates. “The installation was challenging and had to take place through the night behind protective hoardings – with so many parties involved and it being a unique solution, it was essential that we were well prepared,” said Gary Mills, Director of Decorum-Technology. He continued “completed on time and to budget, the successful result is a testament to the professionalism of all involved.”

A giant eight-metre high video wall now dominates the store frontage creating a hugely impressive shop window attracting shoppers with interactive gesture technology. Forever21 took advantage of a unique retail opportunity and raised the standard in terms of consumer expectation. Creating an online buzz both pre and post-launch, the retail giant has in no way disappointed shoppers with its highly creative shop window with the promise of more UK and European stores on the way. “We are seeing a significant increase in the use of digital signage in the retail environment helping to stimulate the consumer”, commented Gary Mills from Decorum-Technology.