JCDecaux unveils The Kensington, a sculptural digital billboard by Zaha Hadid Design

Zaha Hadid

The Kensington, Zaha Hadid Design. Photograph 1 and 3 by Luke Hayes, photograph 2 courtesy of JCDecaux

LONDON – JCDecaux invited Zaha Hadid Design to redefine the design language of billboards by creating a unique communications channel that integrates contemporary design and digital media. The result is The Kensington, a hybrid that encases innovative digital-screen technology within a double-ribbon of matte stainless steel. The innovative artwork/billboard is located on West Cromwell Road in London.

“Both a civic gesture and a promotional medium, the intertwined, looped ribbon design expresses the dynamism of pedestrian and vehicle traffic movements that intersect at this important London junction. The stainless steel ribbon twists as it encircles the screen, defining a varying silhouette when seen from different viewpoints,” said Melodie Leung, senior associate at Zaha Hadid Design. “It will be fascinating to see how brands respond to this sculptural digital canvas. This has been a unique collaboration with JCDecaux to develop new possibilities for media platforms; reimagining the billboard as public art.”

Established in France in 1964, JCDecaux transformed the concept of street furniture and invented the concept of bus shelter provision funded by advertising. Today, JCDecaux provides a range of products and services free of charge to cities and transport authorities across the world, all paid for through advertising. Developed for the benefit of cities, their inhabitants and visitors, these services include bus shelters, street lighting, public benches, toilets, bins, Wi-Fi hotspots, mobile device charging stations and interactive wayfinding screens that provide practical everyday assistance. In 2003, JCDecaux introduced one of the world’s first self-service public bicycle hire schemes — Cyclocity — in Vienna. Public bicycles, funded by advertising revenue, are now available 700 cities in over 50 countries.

JCDecaux ensures that their services adapt to society’s changing needs with ongoing integration of technology solutions and the introduction of smarter, greener services and products equipped with photovoltaic panels, green roofs, USB chargers and digital information screens providing real-time and localised information.

“Design is at the heart of JCDecaux’s DNA, and we are proud to have worked in partnership with Zaha Hadid Design to bring this exceptional vision for a contemporary advertising structure to London. This project underlines how JCDecaux works with the world’s leading designers to transform cityscapes for the benefit of the public and advertising clients,” said Spencer Berwin, co-CEO of JCDecaux.

“We would like to pay tribute to Zaha Hadid’s commitment to design excellence and to her team for bringing our joint vision to fruition and to thank our launch partners for their commitment to this unique new advertising structure. We’re delighted to have Audi and Coty as our first brand partners, using this powerful new platform as part of their launch strategy for the Audi Q8 and CK Women,” Berwin said.

Anna Russell, National Brand and Retail Marketing, Audi UK, said, “Audi is famous for making beautiful cars that combine design excellence with optimum performance. Our ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ positioning encapsulates the importance of design as an expression of technology for our brand. Audi is delighted to be a launch partner for The Kensington.”

The Kensington’s high-resolution 8mm pixel pitch screen (26 x 6 meters) will provide visibility and maximum quality of display for brands, framed by the (30 x 9 meters) steel structure.

Set in an area that has been landscaped to enhance the local environment with the planting of trees and greenery, The Kensington features integrated lighting that increase visibility for pedestrians.

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