Strong/MDI: From Value-Engineered Custom Screens to Opéra Garnier Ceiling

Published: September 13, 2018
At Montreal Museum of Fine Arts a custom-designed Strong/MDI screen is tasked with recreating artist Marc Chagall’s work on the Opera of Paris ceiling.

When folks in the AV integration industry think about screen manufacturer Strong/MDI, they probably remember its products associated with ambitious projection applications. [related]One that likely comes to mind is a remarkably determined project at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in which a custom-designed screen is tasked with recreating artist Marc Chagall’s work on Opéra Garnier ceiling in Paris.

Those types of extremely custom projects are indeed intertwined with the Strong/MDI brand, says Peter Brown, national sales manager, USA.

However, he adds, it’s just as important to realize that Strong/MDI is a price-conscious brand. Extremely custom and value-engineering aren’t mutually exclusive, Brown points out to Commercial Integrator.

Strong/MDI, based just north of Montreal is celebrating 50 years in business this year. During a Three Questions interview, Brown talks about Strong/MDI’s reputation, its target applications and his favorite project (guess which one!).

For those who don’t know Strong/MDI very well, can you describe your brand?

First as we are a custom screen manufacturer. We manufacture to order. We design. We work closely with our clients for their project.

The quality is impeccable. It’s why IMAX, for instance, uses our products for all their movie theaters around the world. It’s why we have been chosen by some of the finest museums including the Smithsonian.

But [what] really stands apart for us is that custom, in a lot of people’s minds, means that it’s expensive, but not with us. We are incredibly affordable.

When we look at the market, we look at really cookie cutter brands to do our competitive comparisons. This is a high quality custom brand with true value engineering.

What types of applications does Strong/MDI target?

Being a company that manufactures screens, fabric, fixed frames, motorized frames — there really isn’t an application in the world of screens that we couldn’t serve. Where we stand out the most is larger venues and those that have specialized requirements.

The value proposition for strong MD I can run the gamut from anything from a small venue opportunity to a very large venue opportunity.

We talk about museums, always a very special application and themed entertainment, which could include aquariums. But all our screens don’t have to be giant.

They can be smaller-sized and they can be used in the theme parks; command and control systems, those are highly specialized custom applications.

Let’s not overlook as well screens that we make for smaller venues that go into corporations; into higher education classrooms and even government applications.

So the value proposition for strong MD I can run the gamut from anything from a small venue opportunity to a very large venue opportunity.

What’s your favorite application example of what Strong/MDI can do?

There’s one on the company website that I just love because it’s such a great example of how a screen can be used in a museum application.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts had an exhibit of Marc Chagall‘s paintings and other artwork. One of the projects that Marc Chagall did was the ceiling at the Opera de Paris [Opéra Garnier ceiling].

The solution that is highlighted in the case study is a circular frame and it is made of a dual-vision material. So when it’s illuminated guests at the museum can actually view it from two sides. It’s not just a single front projection solution.

We used our Studioview material. It used a Domino frame, which is a perfect frame for curved or circular applications. The material wraps around the frame and can be hidden in front projection or rear projection application.

I love that particular example.

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