"We had a vision for what we wanted the building to be; for our customers to see the brand in the perfect way. The building had to represent adidas and the brand. We use the slogan 'form follows function' and this was applied to the building."
This pushing of boundaries is inherent in the adidas brand and it is this sort of thinking that runs through the Brand Center, which acts as the venue for the company to meet with its European key customers to display both its forthcoming products and to highlight its branding objectives.
Work began on the Brand Center in April 2005, after an architect had been selected from a beauty parade of 300 practices, and during the 12-month building period Euros 30m were invested. The chosen architect Viennabased Querkraft Architekten spent this money on delivering an innovative building to the critical specifications of adidas.
The solution was to design the 12,500 sq m structure to feel like the interior of a sports stadium with lots of concrete, a metal internal framework, black-painted surfaces, plenty of plate glass, and large stepped areas to represent the banked seating found in sports arenas.
The undoubted highlight within the building is the ground-breaking projection wall but it proved a challenge for consultants IB Duschl working on the audio visual (AV) aspects of the Brand Center as Sinnberg says adidas was insistent on the image being projected directly onto the internal concrete wall.
"We wanted to show it was possible to put pictures on concrete. We asked ourselves whether we wanted brilliant pictures like those on LCD screens or show them on concrete which fits with our concept? We’ve had a lot of events projected onto the wall so it’s been worthwhile to do it this way," he explains.
The selection of Panasonic PT-D7700 3-chip DLP™ projectors was down to a number of factors including the quality of the projection that they are able to provide on this unusual surface. Any image is further compromised by the significant amount of light entering the room as a result of the glass construction outer walls. Sinnberg says the strong brightness delivered by these devices was essential. Also in their favor was the robustness, which limits the maintenance required.
Their compact dimensions were also highlighted as a positive aspect, and especially with their white casing as this enabled them to blend in well with the building’s metal framework.
Having as many as 25 projectors within relatively close proximity could also have been a problem because of the operational noise they generate. Air-cooling would have been far too noisy but with the liquid-cooling of the Panasonic devices Sinnberg says they operate in complete silence. This also helps them overcome the heat generated from their long operational hours which can run continuously from 7:30am to 7pm Monday through to Friday.
Each projector shows an image approximately 4m across that represents a section of the total image created for the whole of the 105m wall. This is achieved through the use of complex Stumpfl software that splits the overall image and sends the relevant portions to the individual players assigned to each projector.
The content runs on a loop and is produced by adidas for each of the two product seasons with a different 60-minute video created for the spring/summer period and for the autumn/winter season.
The control panel for the projection wall shows the status of all the 25 projectors and enables the switching between programs whereby the backgrounds to the video imagery being shown can be changed to frame it within the adidas name and the famous three-stripe logo. Within these frames it is also possible to show television footage with up to 11 channels displayed including CNN and MTV.
With this AV arrangement in place at the Brand Center Sinnberg says there is the possibility that footage could be shown of a runner or a swimmer progressing down the entire wall and such an undertaking is being considered for the future. The flexibility provided by the projectors and controlling software allows for the projection wall to also be used for presentations and to show welcoming imagery for visiting key accounts.