Christie® has completed the largest, and one of the most prestigious installations of Christie MicroTiles® in EMEA, at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in the City’s Square Mile.
The installation of 508 MicroTiles in the LSE’s large Atrium in Paternoster Square follows a recommendation by CMS consultant Jerry Collins and a subsequent tender won by long-standing Christie Partner, Focus 21 Visual Communications Ltd.
The installation marked the end of a long search by Adeel Saeed, London Stock Exchange Group’s Head of Corporate Technology Services, who was looking to replace ‘The Source’, a moving sculpture previously installed in the stunning Atrium, with a unique visual display. The installation was commissioned as part of the new market open ceremony at the LSE. Companies listing on the LSE are invited to open the market at 8am, signalling the start of London market trading.
For the first time visitors could see market data, bespoke company content and live news streaming from CNBC across the advanced Christie MicroTiles display and bespoke visual communication technology, which formed the backdrop to a giant central illuminated globe and a bespoke ‘market open’ glass block mechanism.
With its ‘building block’ longevity and extreme brightness, Christie MicroTiles represents a breakthrough in display technology, offering video and data display media in varying shapes and sizes, which are complementary to their environment.
Visitors entering the London Stock Exchange are now greeted by two columns of Christie MicroTiles in a 1 x 5 configuration (which are also portable, with their own power supply). As they advance further into the Atrium their view is directed to either side by two strips of MicroTiles, each consisting of 29 and 31 MicroTiles respectively, and on to an impressive video wall that uses 132 MicroTiles in an 11 x 12 array. The video wall, in unison with the other MicroTiles arrays, stream a variety of content throughout the day including live news and market data from CNBC.
The displays are managed by six Christie Spyder X20 processors with content offered from a variety of sources, including Scala Infochannel. A Crestron controller manages lighting, audio, live camera feed and orchestrates an automated opening and closing ceremony of the market. At the same time there is the ability to send live broadcast feeds to the LSE’s in-house studio for onward transmission to news channels.
A further MicroTiles video wall (in 8 x 6 array) has been installed on the balcony overlooking the atrium and can mimic the content on the main video wall. On the ground level there is a mosaic of 46 MicroTiles of different depths and heights, while outside the Atrium, visitors are kept updated with another set of four columns of MicroTiles (in a 2 x 4 array).
“Since the Atrium is an odd shape, flexibility was key to our decision to use MicroTiles,” confirmed Mr. Saeed.
“Decommissioning ‘The Source’ created a void and during that period we took the opportunity to investigate a number of different technologies that would address the challenging size of The Atrium.”
With soaring light flooding the space right up to the seventh floor glass roof, his aim was for a world class display that could operate in real time and create a ceremony that would on the one hand raise the profile of clients and at the same time be symbolic. “We wanted the London Stock Exchange to be associated with a true market open — and recreate that special feeling we had back in the days of the old trading floor in 1986. We engaged CMS as our AV Design Consultant and they recommended that we look at Christie MicroTiles.”
Other options — such as LED, LCD and plasma — were systematically discarded, either due to prohibitive capital and lamp replacement costs or the extreme lighting in the Atrium . “We also needed a display that could be viewed up close — without being overbearing with LED dots — and sufficiently reliable to be able to run 24/7, 365 days a year if necessary.”
After visiting Christie’s EMEA HQ in Wokingham an on-site demo was set up in Paternoster Square towards the end of 2010, with MicroTiles content designer Amigo engaged to produce sample revolving graphics, news feeds and welcome message. As a result, The London Stock Exchange’s Property and IT teams immediately rubber-stamped the Christie solution.
CMS then commenced the tendering process. “We felt Focus 21 were the most flexible, and in terms of their ability to deliver we felt extremely comfortable,” reports Adeel Saeed.
The installation of 508 MicroTiles on a single site was an exciting yet challenging journey for all parties. But they answered all criteria in terms of their ability to stack and fix such large quantities of tiles to a wall, as well as heat dissipation, power consumption, fire certification and usage — with additional cooling fans added as a precaution.
The company 10 Squared was contracted to produce one MicroTiles ‘sculpture’ as a floating mosaic, working with TPS who produced all the main support structures.
Project managing the installation for Focus 21 was their Technical Design Manager, Simon Truby; he, in turn, set up a basement workshop with 14 MicroTiles-trained crew over the five-week build and commissioning period. “It was like a military operation,” he said. “The most challenging aspect was ensuring that the bottom row platform was perfectly flat so that the MicroTiles remained perfectly aligned.”
All calculations were made in Focus 21’s workshop. “Every Tile had to be strapped back and tested before being brought upstairs on palettes with their brackets fitted.” The integrators have also been providing permanent on-site support since the installation was commissioned.
“This is one of the most prestigious contracts Focus 21 has ever undertaken,” confirmed Simon Truby. “Everywhere I go people are aware of this installation, and to have delivered it to the timescales we did, I think even surprised us.”
As well as companies listing on the market, the installation offers other marketing and event opportunities for the London Stock Exchange Group, as well as the chance to expand the market open ceremony to non-listing invited VIPs and guests.
But it is the flexibility of Christie MicroTiles that is the great differentiator, believes Adeel Saeed, and he envisages that in terms of both content and hardware configuration the displays will be constantly evolving and developing its architecture.
“Before MicroTiles, the installation was very limited as we could only show one thing at a time. But now we have the flexibility to do anything our mind desires — not only picture in picture but even 3D if we wanted. If we wish to move or change the shape of the display, or add further Tiles at a later stage, we can. We will constantly be making enhancements.
“The London Stock Exchange is globally recognised as the international finance centre and a symbol of London. As an Exchange the installation needed to be hi-tech and that is the reason MicroTiles was specified. It is proving a huge success and I am delighted to have worked with Christie to deliver what I set out to achieve.”
James Belso, UK Channel Sales Manager, Christie said “This has proved to be a perfect example of how multiple companies should work together to create such a fantastic end result. The timescale between concept and sign off was very short and the success of the installation is very much a testament to all those involved. Such a prestigious deployment of MicroTiles - in combination with the Christie Vista Spyder X20’s - provides an important addition to large UK Fixed Installations and demonstrates the importance of providing unique solutions with value coupled with low ongoing costs of ownership.”
Dale Miller, Christie’s EMEA Vice President, added, “We are delighted that Christie MicroTiles has been selected for such a prestigious venue. Both the high footfall of the London Stock Exchange and the paramount information displayed are perfect testimonials of the trust they put in this revolutionary solution.”