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Part 1: 19 Story Digital Art Installation Transforms Exterior of Intercontinental Miami
April 2013 -
Windows & Exterior Walls
The Miami skyline had a new visitor recently: an enormous dancer gyrating on the side of the iconic InterContinental Miami Hotel. The image was made possible by the most striking element of a $30 million renovation: a 19-story LED digital art installation that transformed the exterior of the building.
As traditional public art media evolve with the technological advances of our time, public landmarks and buildings are incorporating digital and multi-media platforms into their renovations and master plans. The 19 story digital art installation was a critical element of the ambitious strategy adopted by the InterContinental Miami to position itself as the center point of city’s arts and technology scene. Plans also included modernizing the hotel’s restaurant, porte-cochere, and reception area.
The 19-story lighting installation was conceived as a constellation of individual, color-change RGB LED fixtures in each of the project’s 228 affected guest room windows — all working as one cohesive art installation. After a two-year-long conceptualization and planning phase, a team of architects, lighting designers and manufacturers, technology integration specialists, and digital display consultants were faced with the challenge of bringing these ideas to fruition — on a constrained budget.
McGuire Engineers was brought on board to execute the concept. The plan for the lighting installation posed a range of challenges, including the physical design of the light fixtures and the task of connecting light fixtures to one another for a cohesive display. The light fixtures needed to be housed inside each guest room in the least obtrusive way possible. The engineering firm collaborated with a lighting manufacturer to design custom light fixtures that fit perfectly in between each room’s window and the window’s valance — effectively concealing them from the guests’ view.
Then came the task of linking individual light fixtures to create one cohesive display. Significant construction for new networking in the guest rooms was not a possibility based on both the constrained budget and the desire to avoid disruption to hotel operations. The solution: modify the existing phone network by adding new VSDL/IP DSLAM equipment connected to a new fiber optic backbone riser extending up the full height of the building. The DSLAM equipment and associated network switches were installed in four new IDF closets.
Normally, this equipment would be installed in the existing telephone riser closets to minimize the amount of new interconnecting wiring. However, the closets were already jam packed with existing equipment. As a result, the new IDFs were located on the floors immediately below the existing telephone riser closets.
Project: InterContinental Miami
Part 2: Exterior Lighting Design Presents Challenges