While tourists flock to Times Square like moths to a flame (arcane meandering and all), NYC residents tend to avoid those few blocks if can be helped. Even so, the city's healthy population of artists, designers and media / technology people might want to make their annual trip to 42nd St this summer, when the Port Authority Bus Terminal—the western reaches of the once-seedy, now-tacky area—will finally boast some high-tech neon appeal of its own.
Over course of the next month, the unsightly X-trusses of the structure will be bedecked with GKD-USA's MediaMesh, a new system for the "medialization" of large façades.
The 6,000 sq. ft. LED-embedded stainless-steel fabric remains transparent from the inside of the building while representing high-resolution graphics from a distance.
The basic concept of Mediamesh® is a stainless steel mesh fabric with interwoven LED profiles and with connected media controls installed behind it. The LEDs render the images onto the facade, providing the ability to display a wide spectrum of graphics, animated text and video.
In comparison with conventional systems, Mediamesh® is a transparent system that does not completely close off the facade. The architecture of the building is thus not destroyed and, when turned off, the Mediamesh® facade is also integrated as a harmonious element of the architectural design.
MediaMesh appears opaque in daylight
In the case of the Port Authority, this "breathability" has a more utilitarian purpose: it will allow ventilation of exhaust fumes from the bus terminal. Superficial though it may be, MediaMesh has further potential as a medium for art. A|N blog reports:
This is the largest scale application of the technology to date in New York (it's also used on a smaller scale at the Crowne Plaza a few blocks away in Times Square). And while the Port Authority will likely be using the signage for advertising, the medium has been used for art installations, like a 4,000- hour video loop of a woman basket weaving that graces California State University's Madden Library in Fresno.