It’s not surprising that the world’s largest video façade is located in the Middle East. What is surprising, however, is that it’s in Jeddah – where conservative video content and advertising laws are sure to encroach on the screen’s display possibilities.
Designed, built and installed by French company Citiled, the screen covers 21 floors on the north and south façades and 16 floors on the west façade of the King's Road Tower in Jeddah, measuring almost 10,000 sq metres all up. Building restrictions currently in place in the city that stop construction beyond seven storeys ensure the façade is visible from up to three kilometres away.
Citiled has carved out a reputation for their tailor-made media facade projects that are integrated into architecture – previous work includes similar (but smaller) installations on the Agbar Tower designed by architect Jean Nouvel in Barcelona, the Hermes Building in Singapore, the Cocor luxury shopping centre in Bucarest.
“We look for clients not just with money, but with vision,” says sales and marketing manager Chloe Keric-Eli. “And the Middle East certainly has that.” With offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi Beirut and Jeddah, Citiled now has its sights set on opening an office in Asia, either in Hong Kong or Shanghai, according to Keric-Eli.
More than five million LEDs make up the King’s Road Tower screen, which took a team of twenty engineers and craftsmen six months to produce after three months of design and a subsequent six months to install and test.
Citiled uses patented technological innovations and was systems that are almost transparent when mounted on the façades, guaranteeing daylight for the building's occupants and preserving visibility.
“Each bar is one centimetre high and they are positioned every 20 centimetres,” explains Keric-Eli. The result is 92 to 94 per cent transparency. “The eye naturally sees past the bars and after a while, they are not even notice by the people inside looking out,” she says.
Citiled also custom-design software that controls content on the screen, which Keric-Eli says can be managed remotely - in this case by a content creation firm based in London - and is so user-friendly that little to no training is required to operate it.