Just a façade

The Stuttgart-based company Onlyglass GmbH is launching its global presence with a digital media façade that transforms glass walls into absolute highlights
Stuttgart, 27.09.2011 | 

XXL-size public screenings on the glass façade of a skyscraper right in the middle of the city? The world’s only digital media façade from Onlyglass GmbH in Stuttgart’s East Side can make the dream a reality. Companies can use the façade to show image films, product information and advertisements or for special campaigns such as public screenings or art installations.

The façade is made from special glass modules that replace the conventional window panes. On the inside, the modules are full of high-tech: lots of small light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are located on a substructure between two insulating glass panes, while the supply lines for electricity, control and the internet are integrated in the frame. "Up to now, LEDs had to be affixed or stuck to the exterior façades using complicated procedures involving metal meshes. By contrast, our media façade is integrated directly in the architecture," explains Birgit Neusser, Marketing Director at Onlyglass. "The advantages of this solution are obvious: because of the small amount of additional weight, in most cases they can be installed in new or existing buildings without any concerns for statics. In addition, the LEDs are protected from the wind and the elements and it is easier to clean the façade and replace broken LEDs," concludes Birgit Neusser.

The glass modules can be produced in any shape imaginable, with a maximum size of 3.5 x 2.7 metres. There is no limit on the number of modules that can be connected together, thus replacing entire exterior and interior façades. Depending on the size, the number of LEDs and the viewing distance, the display can be visible over a distance of up to twelve kilometres. At the same time it is still possible to enjoy the view from inside the building, as the glass modules allow between 80 and 90% of the light to pass through.

Onlyglass has ten employees and was founded at the end of 2010 by two experts in their respective industries, namely Netvico GmbH (also based in Stuttgart) and the glass specialist Frerichs Glas from the German state of Lower Saxony. Netvico is a pioneer in the field of digital signage. The company has around 35 employees and manufactures digital displays, visitor information systems, touchscreen and billboard displays as well as light walls used in supermarkets, department stores, museums and hospitals across Germany.

While the company from the North of Germany contributes its specialist knowledge in the field of glass, the experts in Stuttgart develop the special software that makes it possible to control the media façade remotely over the internet regardless of location, prepare media content, take care of project management and sales and marketing. "The huge market potential of our media façade was already apparent at the product launch in January of this year," reports Birgit Neusser. "Architects and façade planners are crazy about it. We already have specific requests for ten large-scale projects on the table. In particular the Arab and Asian markets offer major opportunities." The first projects are already in the implementation phase and will probably be on show as early as the spring of 2012. However, where exactly they can be seen remains a secret.

Founded in: 2010
Headquarters: Stuttgart
Employees: 10
Largest order: 1 million LEDs