Starwood Retail Partners
In November 2014, what started out as a normal twenty-five foot Fichus Tree in the center court of Louis Joliet Mall, was transformed into the first of its kind “Digital Tree”.
The elaborate display debuted just as holiday shopping was kicking into high gear. The project consists of LED lights, mirrors and twenty-six (26) LCD screens. In all, one hundred and thirteen (113) items hang in the now digital tree. The screens and display clusters present community news, mall events, store offers and Tweets, along with selfies taken by patrons utilizing a photo booth located near the tree.
As the Construction Manager for the five (5) week fast-tracked project, not only did ICI manage the trade contractors on the site, but also coordinated the schedule of multiple contractors from all over the country, including computer programmers, lighting designers and manufacturers.
As part of the construction, ICI built an AV and Equipment room in the office area of the mall and installed a new transformer to run all of the computer and video components of the tree. One of the more challenging parts of the project was running power and data from the AV and Equipment Room to the center court of the mall, where the tree is located several hundred feet away. The power and data was run through occupied stores, common area soffits, exposed common areas of the mall and at times, several feet in the air.
The work was completed at night during off-hours, as well as when the mall was open for business. Also, the stone surrounding the tree was buffed and polished, columns around the tree were stripped and wrapped in custom millwork and new carpet and furniture was added to the center court surrounding the tree.
The “Digital Tree” is the first in the country for Starwood Retail Partners, which owns twenty-eight (28) malls across the country including Louis Joliet Mall.
“This will allow us to communicate with you, the community, for you to communicate with us, and for you all to interact with one another,” said Rob Hense, Senior Vice President of Development with Starwood at the tree’s unveiling.
Mayor of Joliet, Tom Giarrante was the first to take a selfie that was sent up and rotated through the tree’s LCD panels.