By Richard Lebovitz
Digital Signage Connection
If the designers of the large-scale LED displays and their content could sign their works, Brian Henry’s signature would appear on many that are today iconic landmarks amid Las Vegas’ dazzling lights.
Starting his career as a commercial artist, Las Vegas native Henry switched focus to interior signage in 1998, when he went to work for the Young Electric Sign Co., better known as YESCO. During his 15-year tenure with YESCO, Henry created thousands of interior displays, including the most manufactured gaming sign in history — “Betty Boop,” the modular sign concept seen in Station Casinos and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas gaming floor program.
As part of the design team that developed the revolutionary Bally’s Las Vegas three-sided pylon sign in 2001, Henry’s focus has been outdoor signage innovations ever since, including designer of the 320-by-60-foot, ultra-high resolution LED display at Harmon Corner (2012), and co-designer of the 260-foot Aria pylon (2013) as well as The LINQ pylon and vortex (2014).
In June 2013, Henry struck out on his own to form multidisciplinary design firm Brian Henry Design in Las Vegas, taking the opportunity to continue working closely with YESCO on large design/build ultra-high resolution displays and specialty lighting projects while pursuing his interests in motion graphics and content creation, large-scale fine art works and systems engineering/management, ushering in the new era of LED-dominated signage that is not only striking to the eye but also a sophisticated media interface with unlimited potential.
As a special favor to DSE attendees, Henry, who is one of a stellar group of speakers on DailyDOOH’s “Video Walls Unplugged” Thought Leadership Summit at DSE 2014, has provided a list of some of the most interesting projects in Vegas, including not only some of his own but also other noteworthy digital displays. “Some are a few years old,” he says, “but still impressive.”
1. Revolution Lounge at the Mirage – “Really cool interactive ‘VIP’ tables and a nice projection mapped installation behind the bar,” says Henry. “The tables and a central column inside the club interact with each other.” Additional information: The Beatles REVOLUTION Lounge takes guests on an evolutionary journey, where both music and interior transform, creating a psychedelic sensory environment. The first nightlife experience created by Cirque du Soleil, REVOLUTION blends cutting-edge interactive design, art and sound in a contemporary interpretation of The Beatles era, exclusively at The Mirage in Las Vegas (Source: revolutionvegas.com). Location: Mirage Hotel & Casino, 3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
2. The Linq – “I’ve been working with YESCO to bring it online just before the New Year,” Henry says. “It is a fully integrated media/architectural lighting system including the 150-foot pylon and “vortex” architectural feature.” Additional information: Caesars Entertainment is redefining the iconic Las Vegas skyline with The LINQ, an open-air retail, dining and entertainment district, anchored by the world’s tallest observation wheel, known as the High Roller. Located at the heart of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, The LINQ will span more than 300,000-square-feet of gross leasable space and feature more than 30 unique retail, dining and entertainment experiences (Source: caesars.com/thelinq/). Location: 3545 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
3. The Linq – “LCDs in the new pathway are interactive and have connectivity to social media,” he explains. “The Linq Outdoor Interactive LCDs are complete interactive kiosks that will help engage the user. They show off local events, shows, restaurants, Facebook interaction and email photos. They have an RGB camera and a focusing speaker. Users can also access information about restaurant specials, locations, and show deals and then choose to have the information emailed or texted to them. It’s more about engaging the customer through interaction. The hardware and enclosure were fabricated by YESCO; the software is by elevateDIGITAL.”
4. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas – “The Lobby Columns at hotel check-in are still amazing although the technology behind them is over three years old,” Henry says. Additional information: Winner of DSE’s 2012 Apex Gold Award in the Hospitality category, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas partnered with creative agency Digital Kitchen to create the digital experience that carries guests through the property. Eight floor-to-ceiling video columns involving 384 Samsung 460UT ultra-thin-bezel displays and a continuous video row over 75 feet long using 24 Samsung displays behind the registration desk immerse guests in a surreal art experience as soon as they step inside the lobby. The curated installation, founded on the intersection of art and technology, is brought to life by the high-definition screens rotating original content, from simply geometric shapes to surreal organic flora and even pristine snow falling in a forest (Source: Digital Signage Expo). Location: 3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
5. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Bond Bar — “Creative use of flexible LED panels on ceiling/walls and transparent 3D LED column behind the bar draw attention to a space that might otherwise be lost in a dark corner,” says Henry. Additional information: Offering a mash-up of dynamic LED art, live performance and upbeat house music, Bond is a rhythmic and vibrant performance space and bar (Source: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas).
6. Harmon Corner – “This is a project I completed while still at YESCO,” he says. “To put the screen resolution into perspective, at CES 2014 several companies announced their latest 4K TVs: Harmon is more than 7K wide!” Additional information: Located literally at the 50-yard line of the Las Vegas Strip, Harmon Corner is the newest attraction to hit the Las Vegas Market. Adjacent to Bellagio, Planet Hollywood, Cosmopolitan, Monte Carlo and CityCenter, this 60-by-306-foot board (18,360 square feet) is longer than the length of a football field, and the equivalent to the size of 27 typical highway billboards (Source: branded cities.com). Location: 3717 S. Las Vegas Blvd. at the corner of Harmon Avenue
7. Aria Pylon – 260-foot tall LED across Las Vegas Blvd from Harmon Corner. “I co-designed with YESCO’s Jim Geitzen, and my custom developed marketing messages are part of the content program for the display,” Henry says. Location: 3730 Las Vegas Blvd
8. Hard Rock Cafe – “The popular restaurant has a great multi-touch interactive wall on the restaurant level that allows you to view an extensive catalog of memorabilia,” he says. Additional information: From The Beatles to the Bangles, this multi-user, multitouch interactive experience dubbed the “RockWall” has been integrated into numerous Hard Rock Café’s globally, and showcases over a thousand legendary rock memorabilia items (Source: obscuradigital.com). Location: 3771 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
9. Light – “This nightclub at Mandalay Bay has incredible LED video, lighting and content that is a blend of traditional concert-like fixtures, choreographed shadowplay and Moment Factory’s unique projection mapping,” says Henry. Additional information: LIGHT, the first-ever nightclub turned on by Cirque du Soleil, merges cutting-edge creativity with incredible music to produce a new kind of nightlife experience. Headlining DJs and performers lead the charge, coupled with exclusively built performance elements and visuals, innovative video mapping, lighting, sound and special effects, as well as avant-garde costumes and unique choreography (Source: Thelightvegas.com). Location: Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, 3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
10. The D Casino & Hotel – “The recent facade remodel incorporates multiple synchronized LED displays and interactive LCDs,” says Henry, adding, “As visitors ascend the exterior escalator the sign system displays an interactive element, changing and engaging with the individuals as they pass by.” Additional information: On the D’s Fremont Street Experience façade, an exclusive new lightshow called “Face to Face” designed and developed by Cirque du Soleil visionary Roger Parent, brings the casino’s exterior to life with “virtual tapestry technology.” Face to Face broadcasts colorful, dynamic content across hundreds of feet of LED signage and 40 giant flat-screen televisions 24 hours per day. An adjacent LED exterior escalator whisks guests to the second floor as playful graphics dance and swirl across the screens, interacting with passerby and leading the way inside. Additionally, Face to Face’s panels contract to create a mega screen, live-steaming content from world famous acts performing on nearby 3rd Street Stage (Source: PRNewswire). Location: 301 Fremont St.
More on Brian Henry
Brian Henry was born in Las Vegas in 1977. A lifelong artist, he began drawing as a toddler and went on to become a member of the first graduating class in the Visual Arts Program from award-winning magnet school the Las Vegas Academy of Performing and Visual Arts in 1995. At 17, he began his career in commercial design, hand rendering images for the iconic Silver Strike minted gaming tokens. Although quickly distinguished in the field of gaming graphics design, including imagery for popular games “Wheel of Gold” and “Flaming 7s,” Henry switched focus to interior signage in 1998.
This column was reprinted with permission from the Digital Signage Connection and originally appeared here.