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New Event and Conference Venue Features Uniquely Designed LED Video Wall

After years of construction and many more years of planning, Washington County recently completed a new Wingspan Event & Conference Center (WECC) in Hillsboro, Oregon. The modern 89,000-square-foot facility serves as the centerpiece of a revitalized fair complex site and includes 40,000 square feet of exposition space, a 14,000-square-foot conference center, an expansive lobby and multiple meeting rooms.

The WECC was developed to spur new business opportunities for Washington County by introducing conference, event and meeting spaces designed with high-end finishes and equipped with the latest technology. The venue is intended to accommodate trade shows, corporate meetings and seminars, banquets and fundraisers, festivals and sporting events, as well as local community gatherings.

During the initial design stages of the project, the county specified a video wall solution in the WECC lobby to give the space more flexibility in terms of how it could be used, said Washington County Capital Improvement Project Manager Geoffrey Kavulya. “The intent behind a video wall was to increase the value of the lobby as a rental space and create opportunities to advertise the different kinds of events taking place.”

At one of the design meetings, the concept of a display that could wrap around a wall was suggested. “It was an interesting idea and we decided to explore it,” Kavulya explained. “We had a rendering made and when it came back everybody liked the way it looked.”

Next, the county engaged Planar to see if their concept could be achievable from a construction standpoint. “Having conversations with Planar really gave us insights into the newer display technologies coming out in the market,” Kavulya said. “That’s what ultimately led us to the Planar® CarbonLight™ CLI Series.”

In late 2020, technology integrator IES Communications installed a nearly 33-foot -wide, 16-foot-tall Planar CarbonLight CLI Series LED video wall in a 20x10 configuration and a 1.9mm pixel pitch (CLI1.9) that wraps around an external corner in the WECC lobby.

“You don’t see these wrap external corners very often, so we were excited about the opportunity to work on something that isn’t an everyday piece,” said Franklin Cooper, AV designer with IES Communications.

Leveraging the uniqueness factor

As a singular design feature, the wraparound Planar CarbonLight CLI Series video wall is central to the county’s strategy of incorporating elements to make the WECC facility more appealing as an event space.

“The City of Hillsboro is a fiduciary stakeholder on the project and the biggest commitment on the fiduciary side of things had to do with fit and finish,” Kavulya said. “They really pushed us to add features that would accentuate the venue and give it that sense of arrival.”

The Planar CarbonLight CLI Series video wall not only enhances how the lobby can be used, but it brings a unique character to the space that makes it more memorable, according to Kavulya. “If somebody came to an event at the WECC and they later saw a photo of the video wall in a magazine or elsewhere, they would say, ‘yep, I know that place, that’s Washington County.’ The video wall is a central attraction to the building—it creates an experience that potential vendors would be attracted to.”

Establishing a revenue driver

With the understanding that a captivating digital billboard will undoubtedly attract a lot of looks during events and conferences, the county plans to utilize the Planar CarbonLight CLI Series video wall as an asset for generating revenue through advertising.

“The philosophy behind the venue—and any technology that goes into it—is that it’s a profit center,” Kavulya said. “The video wall plays into this thinking. It gives vendors a unique space to advertise upcoming products and generate awareness.”

The county worked with IES Communications and content management system provider Hypersign to develop customized signage templates, which give users the flexibility to display content on each side of the installation or across the entire length of the video wall. “Depending on what each vendor would like to showcase and how they want to present it, they have different options to meet their needs,” Kavulya said.

Design benefits of the Planar CarbonLight CLI Series

When IES Communications performed the installation, the lightweight carbon fiber construction of the Planar CarbonLight CLI Series allowed them to integrate the display without the need to make any structural modifications to the video wall. Engineered for rental and staging applications, the modularity and adaptable design of the Planar CarbonLight CLI Series presents an advantage for permanent installations.

“Over the course of the project, it really saved the client a fair amount of money because we were able to build the installation without a huge added cost to the job,” Cooper said. “The Planar CarbonLight CLI Series checked the boxes because the general contractor did not have to build an engineered wall capable of withstanding 20,000 pounds of display.”

The installation was a fantastic process for everybody involved, Cooper added. “Planar assisted, which resulted in an easy execution of the project,” he said.