Chicago’s Navy Pier Celebrates 100 Years with Totem Kiosks and “Centennial Vision” Redevelopment Project


As part of Navy Pier’s “Centennial Vision” redevelopment project, Peerless-AV worked with the pier to create custom kiosks incorporating outdoor displays and media players. The team overcame structural challenges and fierce weather to offer sleek, weatherproof totems complete with engaging digital signage to entertain and inform guests.

Nominating Company: Peerless-AV, Aurora, Illinois
Venue: Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois
Project: Navy Pier’s Centennial Vision Redevelopment Project
Category: Public Spaces

Chicago’s Navy Pier Celebrates 100 Years with Totem Kiosks and “Centennial Vision” Redevelopment Project

Historic Navy Pier is one of the most visited leisure destinations in the Midwest, welcoming nearly nine million visitors annually. Originally designed for shipping and recreational purposes, the Pier has evolved into a premier dining and entertainment center that also offers exposition facilities.

As a celebration of Navy Pier’s 1OOth anniversary in 2016, Navy Pier, Inc. took on the task of revamping the Pier. Referred to as the “Centennial Vision,” Navy Pier was seeking to continue its evolution by incorporating new arts and cultural programming, a wider variety of dining choices, green infrastructure, trees and plants, lake pavilions, benches and interactive technologies to further engage visitors, share its extensive history and more.

The vision for the Pier’s makeover included increased technologies and communication. Navy Pier needed a way to quickly inform visitors of news/events, directions and entertainment.

The plan included the use of tall, customized totems incorporating media players and displays to engage, entertain and inform patrons. Located in an unsupervised spot adjacent to water, the solution needed to be secure and weather­resistant.

Navy Pier quickly contracted Panasonic Display Corp. of North America to provide media players. While this selection came with ease, creating and finding a display for the totems did not. Navy Pier continued to search for kiosks and displays to utilize, but could not find suitable choices.

Finding a display manufacturer not only required a product that looked sleek, had thin bezels, was affordable and could withstand outdoor elements, but it also required a team that could seamlessly work within a large-scale city project already in progress.

Through independent research, Peerless-AV was selected for the project. Its custom kiosk team managed relations with a variety of parties, including electricians, contractors and more to construct the giant, customized and monolithic totems, encompassing displays and media players. Peerless-AV overcame the use of difficult materials and below freezing temperatures to provide the ultimate digital signage solution for Navy Pier.

With the totems located outdoors, near the water and in the public without supervision, Peerless-AV’s custom kiosks, incorporating XtremeTM Outdoor Displays, addressed many of Navy Pier’s core concerns with features including weather resistance visibility, and security.

The IP68-rated display is fully-sealed, ventless and weatherproof, providing the utmost protection against outdoor conditions while its optic bonding provides enhanced readability.

The totem poles, featuring no visible or accessible fastening hardware and smooth edges for protection, were specified and installed by a third-party company that used professional engineering calculations to ensure safety.

Chicago’s Navy Pier Celebrates 100 Years with Totem Kiosks and “Centennial Vision” Redevelopment ProjectRESULTS
A total of five totems, each measuring approximately three feet wide by 15 feet high and 17 inches deep, are mounted in concrete at Navy Pier. The totems incorporate three displays per side, totaling 30 42-inch customized Peerless-AV displays.

“Working with Peerless-AV to create digital signage at Navy Pier was a wonderful experience for us,” noted Breanne Baab, Marketing & Brand Manager for Navy Pier, Inc. Throughout this project, we encountered numerous issues that often come with installing electrical on a pier close to water. However, each time an issue arose, the team at Peerless-AV quickly found a solution.”

Today, Peerless-AV displays on custom totem kiosks engage and inform millions of new visitors at Chicago’s greatest attraction.

Navy Pier
Panasonic Display Corp of North America
Pentegra Systems (Installer)

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