Hy-Vee, Inc., one of the largest employee-owned companies in the United States, recently brought the idea of “something old, something new” to its brand new West Des Moines conference and event center by installing cutting-edge NanoLumens curved Nixel Series™ LED displays in the lobby to show highlights from the company’s rich 87-year history.
When building the new Ron Pearson Center, named for former Hy-Vee CEO Ron Pearson, the company wanted to pay homage to its long, successful history in a way that would engage and hold the attention of every visitor to the center. Company officials decided to turn the building’s lobby into an 11,000-square-foot history pavilion, naming it after another former CEO, Dwight Vredenburg, and they hired Dimensional Innovations, a Kansas-based architecture and design firm, to design and fabricate the space. JC Hendricks, Vice President and Creative Director, and the Hy-Vee team agreed that the space needed some really cool technology to draw people in, and with six columns in the room featuring display cases with historical items, the NanoLumens curved Nixel Series™ LED displays presented an awesome opportunity to surprise guests with 360-degree displays unlike anything else they’ve seen.
“Hy-Vee’s Dwight Vredenburg History Pavilion really is a show-stopping display of artifacts, advertisements and photographs from Hy-Vee’s nearly nine decade history,” Hendricks said. “Using Hy-Vee’s bright color palette and some creative design ideas, we designed a space that encourages guests to walk around and learn about the company in an exciting, novel way. The NanoLumens Nixel Series™ LED displays play a critically important role in defining the room’s overall ambience, showing how the company is looking forward while never forgetting its roots as an employee-owned grocery store.”
As it turns out, the designer’s choice to use NanoLumens Nixel Series™ LED displays wasn’t really a choice at all, because NanoLumens is the only manufacturer producing displays that can accommodate the tight curve of a 4-foot diameter column. In fact, the columns were designed specifically to ensure the displays would fit perfectly.
“We wanted to use every available space to capture people’s attention, and the NanoLumens Nixel Series™ displays were the absolute best way to utilize the column space,” Hendricks added. “The plan was originally to outfit four of the columns with displays, but when we showed Hy-Vee a mockup of the NanoLumens 360-degree display, they were blown away and immediately decided to put them on all six columns.”
The Nixel Series™ displays are currently showing a two-hour loop of commercials and videos from the company’s past, with each column staggering the timing so visitors get to see different videos as they peruse the room. This way, guests can see more of the full two-hour video than if it were timed the same on every display. The displays themselves feature a 5mm pixel pitch design, are 2 feet tall and are positioned 8 feet off the ground.
As visitors tour the lobby they are taken on a decade-by-decade journey through the company’s history. Each decade has its own section of wall complete with an LCD screen to display images of people and events during that period, and glass display cases featuring artifacts, books and photos. Combined with color-changing LED backlighting for each display case and column, the curved Nixel Series™ displays help to give the whole room a futuristic appeal.
One of the most important considerations for the owners and the design team was the ease of repairs as well as longevity of the technology, which is one of NanoLumens’ strongest advantages over competitors. With an industry-leading six-year warranty that covers each display down to the individual nixel, which are the small subsections that comprise a NanoLumens display, Hy-Vee is secure in the consistent operation of its history pavilion. What’s more, the Nixel Series™ displays feature a fully front-serviceable design, so any maintenance can be completed much more quickly and easily than other display technologies.
“One of the reasons we went with NanoLumens is that it is front serviceable, so we don’t have to take the whole thing apart to replace a part,” Hendricks said. “As a frequently used event space, it’s important that any problems can be fixed quickly, and these displays provide peace of mind.”
To make things even easier, the Dimensional Innovations team also custom built a proprietary content management system so the on-site staff can update all the displays at once, saving time and energy when changes are needed. Hy-Vee also rents out the Ron Pearson Center as a public event and conference space. The main conference hall is 21,000 square feet and can be divided into up to 10 separate rooms to accommodate any type of event, or multiple organizations at the same time.
“We’re always excited to help innovative companies bring their visions to life with new technologies,” Hendricks concluded. “When ‘wow-factor’ is a requirement for the job, NanoLumens displays truly are one of today’s most effective ways to deliver it!”
Commenting on the project, NanoLumens Regional Sales Manager, Southern MidWest Eric Seigler noted that, “Dimensional Innovations is a premier partner of NanoLumens specializing in making visions a reality through unique uses of technology. Regarding the Hy Vee installation, Dimensional Innovations had a specific need for their client that involved column wraps with a seamless LED solution. Dimensional Innovation engaged NanoLumens to create these one of a kind displays that fit into the space with precision and elegance. This is the first of many projects on the horizon with the two organizations and NanoLumens values their partnership, experience and expertise when dealing with complex technological designs.”