Opened in 1916, Chicago’s Navy Pier has become one of the top attended nonprofit cultural destinations in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and welcoming more than nine million guests annually. To celebrate the iconic landmark entering into its second century, the Pier and its grounds have been dramatically transformed thanks to a massive undertaking by the city and leading architect James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) through an initiative called, Centennial Vision. Over the past 6 years, the Pier has been redeveloped into an accessible, year-round showpiece for local arts and cultural, entertainment, dining, shopping and beyond.

A key part to the multimillion dollar project includes the Polk Bros Park and Performance Lawns, a 13-acre green space that serves as the Pier’s gateway and the city’s front yard. Featuring two stages equipped with state-of-the-art audio and video, installed by OSA International, Inc., free arts and cultural programming are offered throughout the summer and beyond.

As OSA’s AV crew worked with the project’s entertainment team, they were positioned with a unique challenge around one of the free programs, Water Flicks. The family-friendly film series was planned to take place each Monday evening on Lake Stage which features a sloping area directly facing Lake Michigan. “Chicago is famous for its strong winds and we needed to select a video wall solution that could not only handle the typical outdoor elements as well as provide high quality imagery, but allow the wind to easily pass through without interrupting the audiences’ viewing experience,” said Brandon Gardner, Account Executive for OSA International, Inc.

After reviewing several options, OSA selected the Absen C7 mesh LED tiles as the best choice to build the removable 14’ x 8’ wall. “Being wind permeable, the C7 not only handles any strong wind gusts, but has proven to be extremely easy to install as well as remove, plus provides great brightness even in direct sunlight,” said Gardner. “We couldn’t be more pleased.” The park and performance lawns made their public debut to great acclaim on July 10 with the kickoff of the Water Flicks series featuring the made-for-TV film of “Sharknado”.

All images courtesy of Elliot Mandel

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