An Inside to Match the Outside: Chicago’s Aon Center Lights Its Lobby with LED

An Inside to Match the Outside: Chicago’s Aon Center Lights Its Lobby with LED

One of the most recognizable buildings in Chicago had a problem: it was boring. When it first opened in 1974, the Aon Center was the fourth-tallest building in the world. Boasting a façade clad entirely in Italian Carrara marble, the Aon Center towered over the Chicago skyline and left crowds awestruck with its height and outer beauty. Times have changed since then. Today’s audiences demand interior experiences on par with exterior appearances. JLL, the property management group for the building, recognized they could no longer coast on the past glories of the building. Surpassed in height by newer giants and well behind the curve with regard to technological advances, the Aon Center had lost its luster. To inspire current and future tenants, JLL aimed to create an interior experience that would reestablish visitors’ sense of place within the Aon Center, as well as the Aon Center’s place within the broader Chicago community.

JLL knew right off the bat that they were looking for something modern, but what exactly that meant took time to figure out. Deciding the main lobby space on the south side of the building was the right location for the ambitious project, JLL considered the design and architectural challenges that area posed. Like many prominent lobbies, the entryway to the Aon Center faces frenzied foot traffic and welcomes high levels of ambient light throughout the day. Any installation therefore needed to be something that would integrate both seamlessly and rapidly while also meeting a powerful brightness threshold to compete with the sun’s rays. JLL quickly concluded that a large-format LED display solution was their best bet.

The LED experts from NanoLumens joined the JLL team to install two 42-foot-wide by 10-foot-tall direct-view LED display solutions on either side of an interior entryway inside the lobby. Thanks to speedy work from Chicago-area integrator Sensory Technologies, the installation was finished in just 11 days. The mesmerizing displays immediately catch the attention of tenants, guests, and passersby with Chicago-centric content from Pixelfire that celebrates elements of the city’s culture and history. JLL reports that people walking through the Aon Center now feel immersed in the building and the city in ways they weren’t prior to the project. According to Joe Hynes, the Senior VP of Project Management at JLL, guests “have to walk right between the two displays in order to enter the main hallway, so it’s almost as if they are walking directly into the digital content itself.” This is exactly the kind of interior lobby experience JLL hoped to create to complement the iconic exterior of their historic property.

The success of the Aon Center lobby installation is mirrored by several other lobby displays NanoLumens has completed with partners like Scripps Networks Interactive and Telstra. Public-facing organizations with high-profile buildings need to project an impressive front to their audiences, and property management teams realize LED technology can transform not just their interior space but their entire brand image as well. To learn more about NanoLumens work in lobby spaces, read here. (link to blog about lobby displays).