PZ Cussons, the multi-national consumer goods company, has relocated from its base in Stockport to a new 40,000 sq ft headquarters on the Manchester Business Park.
The new purpose built office will provide a modern and stimulating work environment better suited to the future needs of the Group as it continues to expand its international business.
Manufacturers of Imperial Leather and Carex products, and leaders in the Personal Wash market, the company were looking to create a ‘wow’ factor at the entrance to the new flagship site, which is endowed with an imposing atrium. This has been provided with the first European installation of Christie’s new-generation MicroTiles™ media display.
The installation was carried out by Lancashire-based Pure Audio Visual Ltd under the supervision of Divisional Director Alan Marshall.
Original discussions had begun in the autumn of 2008 when Alan was working in the AV division of an office fit-out company. PZ Cussons’ interest then was in purchasing furniture, but after Alan Marshall had moved to Pure AV he maintained the contact and was soon discussing with PZ Cussons’ IT team different ways in which digital signage could enhance the company’s brand values and perception.
“As the atrium was glazed on two sides this presented a conundrum,” said Marshall. “Initially we considered projectors — but then I had a meeting with Joe Graziano, [Christie’s Market Development Manager for MicroTiles ] and he told me about this new product.”
Launched in February at the ISE Show in Amsterdam, the unique MicroTiles digital display technology enables a virtually seamless digital canvas to be created to almost any size, shape or scale — offers great viewing angles and spectacular, crisp visuals at any distance.
These modular tiles can be stacked and clustered like building blocks, using an entirely new, advanced optical design that produces unparalleled levels of brightness, contrast and colour reproduction. It also offers the widest possible viewing angles, and boasts a near absence of seams between the tiles.
The groundbreaking LED- and DLP®-based system is designed for long, reliable commercial use in public areas, with no lamps or other consumable parts to replace. The LED light engine, a key component of Christie MicroTiles, is rated at 65,000 hours to half brightness usage, or nearly 7.5 years of continuous operation.With a screen size of 16 inches (408mm) wide x 12 inches (306mm) high, the tiles also feature a shallow depth of only 10 inches (260mm) and require just 2 inches (50mm) of minimal clearance for rear ventilation. These installation-friendly dimensions were precisely what was required.
Ged Bithell, PZ Cussons’ Head of IT International and Chris Colesell, Head of IT UK, attended a MicroTiles demonstration at Christie EMEA HQ in Wokingham — and this sealed the deal.
Having seen examples of an LCD videowall they were adamant they didn’t want to see big gaps — and of course with seams of just 1mm, the MicroTiles addressed this.
Since there was not a great deal of space in the atrium, and certainly not a great depth in the wall, it fitted the bill perfectly. Aside from the seams, the resolution and non-reflectivity of the screens was another key factor, and the high brightness of the display was able to punch its way effortlessly through the natural environment.
Remembers Chris Colesell, “We had been told by our steering group to look for something that would create a wow factor and engage with people — not a standard six screens welded together to deliver death by Powerpoint.
“We were worried that projection would not give the desired effect. We took our own video of MicroTiles and when the steering group saw it, they needed no convincing.
”Pure AV worked closely with the architect, Peter Fearon-Brown from CBRE, and fit out contractors, Preferred Office Environments to accommodate a wall, conventionally configured in an 8 x 4 landscape display, mounted 5 metres above the ground in the open foyer.
The display (which measures 3.5m x 1.2m) is optimized to enable a resolution of 4800 x 2048. This allows hi-def content with a stereo audio feed to be broadcast.
The content itself has been compiled by SPL, PZ Cussons’ regular video production company, and Pure AV who have created graphics and edited the programme into a 30-minute rolling show (with the storyboard written by Alan Marshall himself).
He explains, “We have put an AMX system in to control the videowall and this allows the client to select templates in terms of background and choose stock content from a library of video players, import it and schedule it. There are three video servers feeding the system and a scaler with various inputs.
Since the wireless touch panel is on PZ Cussons’ wireless network they can implement any changes from anywhere in the building.
The MicroTiles wall has been carefully sited to so that it can be easily seen off axis from each of the landings. Although the display will serve a vital role in reinforcing the new image of the company — and will even take live feeds from the company’s factories overseas — neither Alan Marshall or Chris Colesell are under any illusion that its first mass gathering will be for this summer’s FIFA World Cup.
Summing up, Chris Colesell says, “This not only fits the space perfectly but it also fits our culture of being innovative. Our company ethos is about ‘Making the ordinary, extraordinary.’ MicroTiles certainly achieves that.”