The OBLX's design secrets explained

in Lobby and Experience Centers

OBLX structure with image front
The OBLX-55 freestanding structure is one of the most eye-catching newcomers to Barco’s Corporate AV range. This structure holds four 55” near-seamless LCD panels in a 2x2 landscape setup (giving users 4k resolution precision), and does not need any wall support. It is thus possible to position an OBLX video wall anywhere you want to. What’s more, Barco also offers this structure supporting a 3x1 portrait mode setup, and extension kits that expand the video wall with extra columns. In theory, there is no limit to the horizontal expansion. Tom Dewaele, OBLX's designer, lifts a tip of the veil on some of the most eye-catching aspects of the freestanding structure.

Tom Dewaele: “The idea to create a freestanding structure, was issued following market demand. A lot of businesses would like the large canvas and high resolution of an LCD video wall in their meeting rooms, lobbies or conference centers, but cannot install it because they either lack sufficient wall support, lease the building and may not drill into the walls, or just have no appropriate wall to position a large video wall. Freestanding structures are a convenient answer to these kind of problems, so we studied the feasibility of such a project."

OBLX-55 series design honeycomb

Collecting all parameters
“We started off by collecting all the fixed specifications that the product needed to comply to. This included the nominal height of standard meeting rooms, the lowest and highest desired position of the video wall, etc. Furthermore, ergonomical safety restrictions are not allowing people to lift more than 35 kg. And on top of that, we also had our own wish list, which included the maximum size of the foot panel, the material we wanted to use, and a number of design elements. With this information, the team started designing intensely and pretty soon we came up with a concept for a prototype.”

Maximum cost-efficiency
“In order to keep the final product affordable, we also kept a strict eye on the budget. Every component was designed to maximum cost-efficiency, without compromising on quality or strength. Furthermore, we reduced the number of components as much as possible. The design trims, for example, serve as a distinctive visual feature, protect the sensitive edges of the seamless LCD panels, and have an important function in the structure’s strength. And for the snap-on covers that define in large the OBLX’s looks, we relied on an advanced new technology which was commercially used for the first time.”

An all-in-one concept
“A great idea we had during the design phase, was to use the hollow space in the leg of the OBLX to hold 19” rack equipment. This means the controller, a LAN switch, a ClickShare Base Unit, digital signage player, etc. can all be integrated within the structure, excluding the need for a separate rack. Cables can enter the OBLX from the back, the top, or the bottom, whichever is best for your application. The OBLX is thus an all-in-one system, which is quite unique to the market.”

Extreme engineering
“The foot is probably the most cleverly engineered part. It has a really nice, distinctive design, but every curve has its specific purpose. Although relatively light-weight, it is extremely strong; tests have shown that it can withstand up to 4.8 tons of pressure! 

Creating a completely freestanding structure is of course a risk. People tend to think it will fall over, especially when they see the quite compact foot. However, stability was always the primary focus point during design, and safety has been thoroughly examined in many different tests. Tilting the structure for 10° for example still did not cause the system stagger. We also asked Jack, the biggest guy in the company, to hang on the upper corner. The OBLX did not move a millimeter (as you can see in the picture).”

Some additional eye-candy
“The final stages of the design process, mostly involved the fine-tuning of the visual aspects. We worked a lot with light-dark contrasts to give the structure a slimmer look. Also the round edges have been designed to high detail. The honeycomb structure at the back are in essence air holes, but also give the structure a ‘lighter’ feel when seen from behind. I can speak for the whole team when I say we are very proud with our achievements on OBLX.”

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