Night Nights Denver

ProjectNight Nights DenverLocationDenver, Colorado - USAManufacturersDigital Projection and Display Devices - USALighting DesignerDenver Theatre DistrictSubmitted byDigital Projection

In the heart of downtown Denver is a 16-block area known as the Theatre District. This lively, pedestrian-minded locale is a focal point for the city, enlivened through interactive, immersive, and experimental art and events. The Daniels and Fisher Tower stands 325 feet tall in the center of the Theatre District, in the middle of the 16th Street Mall, just between lower and upper downtown. Complete with a plaza, this foot-traffic heavy location is a prime spot for Denver and the perfect spot for a projection mapping solution.

Selecting a parking garage across the plaza for their technical base of operations, the unified team of DDI and DP began designing a one-of-a-kind display solution. The end result was an environmentally controlled walk-in structure housing (10) of DP’s exceptionally bright M-Vision 21000 WU projectors.

Powered by up to 210,000 lumens of color-rich content, the Daniels and Fisher tower is transformed by light-based art. Now known as Night Lights Denver; the mesmerizing display is an on-going visual experience that showcases innovative works from both local and international artists. This permanent and on-going event features fresh content each month with rotating art collections including professional photography, animation, live action video, and civic messaging.

As a projection mapping solution on top of an iconic and historic building, the combined projected image had to be bright enough to create a continuous image not only on the façade itself, but also the window spaces. As a result, the solution has the ability to project content that can both cover the windows or utilize them as part of the artwork effects.

As a rule, whenever a company seeks to add an advertisement, they must also provide an investment toward improving the visual experience of the district. When the project organizers started plans to utilize the Daniels and Fisher Tower for one of their projects, they sought out a team to design a solution that would not only be visually stunning, but also non-damaging to the 100+ year-old building. After thoughtful research and consideration, the organizers selected the large-scale display experts at Digital Projection (DP) and Display Devices (DDI) to tackle the project.

The primary challenge was to design a way in which a fleet of projectors could be powerful enough to illuminate an entire building, while at the same time contend with the frigid temperatures of Colorado. This solution also needed to be able to be controlled both on-site and remotely, and operate on a nightly basis. Finally, location was needed in the proximity of the tower that would be unobtrusive to the surrounding area. A special, environmentally protected structure was built to house the projectors and keep them in prime operating temperatures. Engineered to withstand the harshest of Denver weather, the simple but high-tech structure allows the city team to work inside for hands-on adjustments and calibrations, as well as program, schedule, and display content remotely from a home office.

With nightly shows from Tuesday through Sunday evenings, Night Lights Denver has become one of the city’s more meaningful attractions. Completely free and open to the public, the show features rotating content collections including professional photography, animation, live action video, and civic messaging from both local and international artists. This had a profound effect for the city throughout the pandemic as it provided a means for the citizens to safely enjoy some visual entertainment that they can take pride in.

David Ehrlich, Executive Director of the Denver Theatre District, explains the program in saying, “Night Lights Denver has become the perfect way to expand our connection to the art world in Denver on every level. We call it, ‘the people’s projector’ because of the enormous amount of content we share with the entire city through a platform that virtually every kind of artist can use.”

One of the more impactful moments of this continuous display occurred when the city showcased artwork created by some of its elementary school students. Ehrlich explains, “This really resonated with the city because anyone with kids has their artwork hung up somewhere in their house. It’s a pretty common thing – but when shown on the tower downtown, it created something akin to a shared living room for Denver itself. And that really builds community because it helps people find what they have in common.”

David Moke, Director of Programming adds to this in saying, “The people are absolutely thrilled and have already adopted [the display] as part of the city. This is the most vibrant thing we have downtown.” As a result, the public is energized by this display – and it is now a common site to see visitors smiling, laughing, taking selfies and videos – all in front of the display. Finally, all of this is possible without charging the public an entrance fee and without any impact to the historic tower itself.