2018 SEGD Arrow Award: NanoLumens
The SEGD Arrow Award recognizes exemplary service or dedication to advancing technologies and manufacturing in experiential graphic design, and striving to provide the highest quality in products and services to the field. Recipients of the SEGD Arrow Award have advanced new manufacturing processes, led the development of innovative new products, and championed sustainable practices and materials. Past winners include SH Immersive Environments, 3M, Neiman & Company, CREO Industrial Arts, Matthews Paint and Nova Polymers.
Founded in 2006, Atlanta-based NanoLumens is synonymous with world-class innovation and quality in LED displays designed and assembled in the USA. They engineer and design ultra-slim, lightweight and flexible large format digital displays with one goal: break all the rules and enable creative professionals to forge new paths in digital media. The NanoLumens team of experts work with global clients in retail, transportation, gaming, higher education, stadiums and arenas, houses of worship and soon, cinema.
NanoLumens’ strong team of engineers, technicians and business people has been led by Founder and CEO, Rick Cope, since day one. He was instrumental in guiding the development of the industry’s only truly curved LED display and holds over 30 industry patents.
Cope and his company have been fierce proponents of the SEGD community since 2014. We caught up with Cope to discuss what makes NanoLumens a success.
Tell us a little about your company and what sets it apart from the competition?
What really sets us apart from our competition is the level of commitment we attach to each and every aspect of our business. We approach each partnership as a fresh opportunity to prove how dedicated we are to helping our clients realize their most inventive digital ideas.
We allow our clients to dream bigger than they thought possible, since our proprietary technology allows us to create fully customized state-of-the-art displays in any size, shape or curvature. If they can dream it, NanoLumens can build it.
How did NanoLumens come into being?
Early on, we recognized the coming proliferation of digital technology and saw an opportunity in the marketplace for a new style of digital wallpaper. Up till that point, LED display technology had not really moved indoors yet, as it was heavy, prone to overheating and frequently out of compliance with safety regulations.
Seeing this as an opening, we sought out to create a product that solved those problems and along the way developed the industry’s first truly curved LED board. Today, our flexible LED board and the philosophies behind it are the foundation of almost everything we create.
What is the company culture like at NanoLumens?
NanoLumens is a rapidly growing company and requires agile leadership that can grow with it. We believe in ‘Servant Leadership’ and the sharing of power—a style which puts the needs of others first, helping them to develop and perform at the highest level.
This unifies the company and brings a sense of joint ownership over company success. As a servant leader, I empower team leaders within the company, giving them the flexibility to accomplish projects efficiently—more so than what you might find in a larger company.
What are a few projects that have been pivotal to your company and why?
A notable triumph on the global stage is our installation in Singapore’s Changi Airport, which is the largest indoor airport display in the world. Another remarkable project we completed was for Telstra, Australia’s largest telecom company, which is significant because it was the world’s first native 4K, 2.5 mm pixel pitch display.
High-profile domestic projects include our work with professional sports teams like the Atlanta Braves, New England Patriots and Boston Celtics. These projects are significant because despite being quite different from each other, they show the versatile breadth of utility large event spaces can draw from digital display technology.
What is something you wish designers knew about your company, products or services?
We want designers to understand that the incredible capability of our technology removes any and all restrictions on what they can dream up. Like what designers do, our display solutions aim to create intersections between art, architecture and information.
Our installation in Toronto Pearson Airport, dubbed ‘The Flower,’ is an excellent illustration of this concept, as it is ideal for displaying flight information, advertising content and wayfinding data.
What is the best part of working with experiential graphic design professionals?
Designers think outside of the box to create things that didn’t exist before—a quest that inherently pushes boundaries. We embrace this pursuit. Our technology aims to make dreams a reality, and we’ve found experiential graphic designers are capable of dreaming bigger than just about anyone else.
What is the hardest part of what you do?
We separate ourselves by selling our displays as solutions instead of off-the-shelf products. Making this distinction clear to our partners and end users is crucial, though not always easy.
What is the most rewarding part?
Working with great people to turn ideas into realities is what gets us out of bed every morning. The process of creation is something we believe brings tremendous value to our lives both professionally and personally, so to be able to help our clients and partners actualize in the real world the designs they’ve imagined is incredibly rewarding.
What are you developing now?
We are still furthering our original goal of creating the best digital wallpaper technology we can, continually improving the resolutions, sizes, internal software and other enhancements.
What do you see as the future for NanoLumens?
More of what we are doing. We are on the cusp of designers, architects, and artists recognizing that they aren’t bound by rectangles anymore.
How did your relationship with SEGD begin and what role does participation in the community play in your company?
We have long been partners with SEGD, and we hope with SEGD’s help to inspire other companies just like us. Participation in the community gives us access to great minds. Our business is about turning ideas into reality, but we can’t succeed in that mission without working with the creatives who come up with those ideas in the first place.
Congratulations to the 2018 SEGD Achievement Award winners!