As part of the ongoing refurbishment of Johannesburg’s Fourways Mall, Primary Colours has installed a very large, curved LED screen above the new food court. The combination of location, scale and the innovative concave design all add up to an easy win for advertisers, but installing the screen presented a number of challenges.

The screen is some 19.84m in length, and 1.536m tall, including the custom-made frame, and weighs about a tonne. The smooth curve of the screen was made possible by using LED tiles comprised of rubber-backed modules that can be bent to fit almost any curved surface. Each tile is held in place by magnetic strips, which means that it adapts to the curvature of the mounting surface.  

This proved to be a crucial attribute in the case of this new installation, as the Primary Colours team discovered that the architectural drawings of the wall did not reflect the reality they were confronted with. The curvature was not only uneven but also quite different from what was indicated on the blueprints. Working at height, and the need to install the sign at night, added to the challenges involved in this project.

“This installation represents a more imaginative way of using existing technology. Whereas these DigiLED panels are manufactured flat, they can be bent to almost any concave or convex curve, making them extremely adaptable and offering greatly enhanced flexibility when it comes to choosing LED signage locations.”

Primary Colours directors Ashendra Singh and Grant Neill

The Fourways LED screen is made up of some 1.9 million pixels (4 960 x 384). The pixel pitch (that is, the distance from the midpoint of each pixel to the next) is 3.9mm, with the surrounding black plastic and carefully angled hoods on each pixel contributing to the impressive colour contrast.

Using a non-standard resolution, essentially three strips of video each 384 pixels high, means that significant video processing power is required to generate the complex content format required.

This is more than offset by the impact and clarity of the results. The food court offers the perfect combination of high footfall and a captive audience, and the display can be seen from the adjacent escalators, all three floors of the mall, and three nearby entrances.

To date, this is believed to be the only large-scale, OOH variably curved LED screen in South Africa. However, as with all excellent innovations, this one is likely to catch on soon. Primary Colours believes that curved (or pliable) LED tiles have huge potential in retail environments, whether wrapping pillars or lining suspended tubes.