Architectural Displays: Elevator Music for the Eyes

The audio business has long understood this truth: background music can create an experience. The video side of AV, on the other hand, has a thing or two to learn.

While we all roll our eyes at “elevator music,” no one can deny the impact of sound on emotions, and it is no surprise that ambient music is commonplace in commercial projects ranging from retail to airports, from shopping malls to restaurants.

Today’s digital signage is often akin to yesterday’s public address audio systems. Completely focused on messaging and information, it can miss the chance to create a mood. The growth of a new category of architectural displays represents a great growth opportunity for the AV integrator looking to expand their business, to retail and hospitality applications, as well as emerging installations in healthcare and corporate venues.

Adjacent to, but distinct from digital signage, architectural displays evoke emotion or create an experience. They can take the form of dramatically-scaled backdrops, like we have begun to see in hotel lobbies or other hospitality venues.  They can also be more subtle, adding a bit of whimsy to a space with unexpected movement. Rather than specifics about a product or place, these implementations speak more to ambiance and brand. Just like environmental music is an alternative to silence, architectural displays compete with blank walls.

The wall covering marketplace alone is expected to be $26 billion (USD) by 2015, according to Global Industry Analysts’ estimates, so there are plenty of opportunities for AV integrators to participate in the growth.

To successfully expand business to architectural displays and installations, integrators should consider the following:

  • Familiarize yourself in the architecture and design marketplace by reading publications and attending trade shows in the space.
  • Review your own portfolio of projects and pull out installation profiles that illustrate effective use of technologies applicable to architecture and design environments.
  • Lean into manufacturers for case studies and sales tools to assist, while simultaneously, reaching out to digital artists, marketing agencies, and video designers to understand what capabilities they have to offer your clients.
  • Starting with your loyal clients, ask for references to architects, designers, and consultants who are specifying projects and need to know about your expertise, products and services. You should strive to be a trusted advisor, as well as an installation contractor, for upcoming projects.

Do you have any experience creating architectural displays? Let us know.

About Jennifer Davis

Jennifer Davis is Vice President of Marketing at Planar Systems and Runco International. Her work at Planar spans a wide variety of markets and technologies, including digital signage and architectural displays. Prior to joining Planar, Jennifer worked for Intel Corp. and held a senior marketing management role at a software start-up. She holds a BS in business administration and history from Warner Pacific College and an MBA from Pepperdine University.

2 Responses to “Architectural Displays: Elevator Music for the Eyes”

  1. Monique, thanks for the comment. There are exciting waves of development and applications occurring made possible by new technologies. I look forward to seeing what visionary creatives (like your husband friends) will do in the coming months and years!

  2. I love this. My husband and two friends made a “video bar” for the Mill Valley Film Festival in 1984, which was also on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. They used the big, old heavy video monitor and built them face up in the bar, with a protective piece of glass.

    Now the technology is lending itself to beautiful, interactive architectural displays and endless possibilities for artists. Very nice!