Mediamesh Contrasts The Old With The New At The Duomo In Milan

June 6, 2016

It makes sense that the fifth largest Christian church in the world, the Piazza del Duomo, would also be the forum for Europe’s largest media façade. The famous Italian gothic-style cathedral spans an area of an entire city block. Milan is a cultural center that serves as a destination for thousands of visitors and local residence. With renovations going on over several years the city center needed a proper solution to the construction work in progress.

With thousands of visitors and locals enjoying the cultural hub every day, a solution to mask the construction while still allowing the beauty of the architecture to show through was needed. It was only appropriate to enlist the help of the media installation specialists at Urban Screen. They are known for conceiving large-scale media structures – often crossing the threshold of communication, lifestyle and art in the new digital age. The company joins the list of at least 78 different architects and specialists recorded to have worked on the cathedral project.

Urban Screen was tasked with devising a cladding solution for the public center of Milan. Nearly 1,600 feet of GKD’s Mediamesh integrated LED façade was used as cladding on the cathedral. The large-scale mesh system has many qualities that made it an ideal material for the cladding project. It is an aesthetically pleasing transparent metal mesh that highlights the surrounding architecture and allows a glimpse of the building behind the media platform. At the same time, the mesh fabric with integrated LEDs manufactured by GKD, known as Tigris, creates a temporary barrier for hiding construction. Both GKD and German-based ag4, founders of the first transparent media facade, partnered on the mesh system.

The Mediamesh displays an astounding clear resolution of 194,000 pixels across eight panels measuring approximately 54 feet high and 12 feet wide. The display is fully programmed to connect to a central server to allow for brilliant graphics, videos and even live transmissions. The Mediamesh is the only system in the world that can provide such optimal image quality and even adjusts to brightness, rain, or night conditions. GKD Mediamesh is also easy to maintain, has low energy demands, and offers a high resistance to weather and temperature. These attributes contributed to GKD’s specification in the project versus other digital displays.

The Mediamesh facade represents a unique solution to the centuries old silhouette in that it is in direct contrast to the classical architecture used by the Cathedral and surrounding buildings. The media façade serves a dual purpose: screening the ongoing construction and providing information and entertainment for visitors to the Piazza del Duomo in Milan.