The National Theatre of Iceland is one of two main theaters in Reykjavík, drawing attention for its stunning architecture highlighted by dramatic contrasting dark gray surfaces and lighter grey decorative elements. Everything about the building is majestic. Designed by Guðjón Samúelsson, the theater opened on April 20, 1950. Acknowledging popular sentiment on the island nation, the programming schedule set by artistic director of Magnús Geir Þórðarsson and venue management features varied seasonal productions consisting of new and old classics, foreign and locally written scripts, musicals, dance pieces, and more.
Last summer, the theater’s technical team was tasked with researching an outdoor digital signage solution to replace the old traditional static signage at the front of the building. The objective was to be able to show regularly updated schedules and teaser trailers of upcoming productions in dynamic, high-definition video to visitors and audiences passing by the theater, attracting them inside to enjoy all the arts and stage performances on offer.
The artistic challenge was ensuring that the digital signage would complement the building’s unique Art Deco design. Technically, displayed imagery had to be visible and vibrant at any time of day and from any viewing distance, and the display itself needed to be able to withstand sometimes harsh Icelandic weather.
Nordic IT service company Origo, based in Reykjavík, provided start-to-finish project management. Origo considered various outdoor LED and LFD options, and ultimately chose to specify Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Displays from Peerless-AV.
“Since the National Theatre is a listed building, it was important that the outdoor screens were in line with the simple, clean shapes, and streamlined style,” said Agust Gylfason, product manager, Origo. “The Xtreme 65-inch offers a slim frame and sits close to the wall, hence an ideal look overall for this application.
“In addition, due to the variable weather in Iceland and the exposed location of the screens, it was important to have the most robust and weatherproof solution available. Peerless-AV’s Xtreme displays were the only choice in the marketplace with an IP66 rating and an [such a wide] operating temperature range. Origo is happy, since the customer was pleased with the both the installation and end result.”
The 65-inch Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Display from Peerless-AV offers outstanding video quality, along with the durability and longevity for any digital signage or entertainment application, according to the company. Sunlight-readable, the display offers 2,500 nits of brightness and is optically bonded, which increases the perceived contrast ratio and cuts down on glare. Fully sealed, without the need for exhaust vents or additional HVAC equipment, the Xtreme operates from -31°F to 140°F, is IP66 rated against the ingress of moisture and dust, and features IK10 rated impact resistant safety glass.
Origo began the installation of four 65-inch Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Displays (model XHB652) in portrait orientation in July 2020, but project completion was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic to mid-September 2020. The Xtreme displays were mounted to the building’s exterior with included outdoor flat wall mounts, and Origo provided customized frames for an enclosed finish. BrightSign XD234 4K Media Players enable remote access and control of content by the theater’s marketing department.
“We can easily say that this has been a truly positive transformation. Where we used to have backlit, printed posters that took both time and energy to change, we now have controlled, high-quality screens that we can operate from anywhere,” concluded Sváfnir Sigurðarson, marketing executive at the National Theatre of Iceland. “The change has made the staff proud and we have people stopping in front of the theater admiring the displays. What really impresses me is how clearly you can see the images on the screens, even when the sun is shining directly on them.”