Retailers may all be adopting giant displays in their stores, but Forever 21 decided to ditch the usual screen technologies and opt instead for something it has specialized in for years—fabric.
At Forever 21’s flagship store in New York, the company decided to replicate the thousands of pixels usually found on a typical display with thread on rollers. The idea behind it: the clothing store aimed to show off a range of Instagram photos, but in a unique eye-catching way.
The ‘F21 Thread Screen’ is certainly a marketing tactic, and a significant one at that. The technology behind the display is rather impressive for something that is, for all intents and purposes, a throwback to a time before technology.
The screen has over 200,000 custom made parts, including 6,400 specially made, rotating thread spools over which multiple 5.5 foot strips of colored fabric rotate, 6.7 miles of fabric set in motion by motors controlled by in-house programmed, designed and manufactured circuitry.
View the live stream of the F21 Thread Screen below.
Despite that relatively compact stature, over 200,000 parts exist inside the display, including motors and mechanisms needed to accurately control the position of all those spools. That all adds up to a display that weighs in excess of a ton.
Users can interact with the display via its website or on YouTube (see above) where a live stream is displayed. There’s even a how-to guide for those wishing to get their images beamed onto the 11-foot-tall 9-foot-wide display.
The manufacturer of the screen is BREAKFAST, a company that works to create “connected devices born in technology, but that exhibit primary characteristics embodied in works of art.” Technology and thread are this project’s unlikely but complimentary pair.
What was the build process like? Watch the video below.