Innovative 360° concept
Volkswagen Group has a new brand space to showcase itself as a global company: DRIVE. The Volkswagen Group Forum. The forum features a host of visionary concepts and company brands, underscored by a world-class AV-powered exhibition designed by macom.
The concept behind the forum – which used to be called Automobil Forum and is located right at the heart of Berlin on the Unter den Linden boulevard – is to use the 10000 sqm display area to turn the spotlight on the brands of the Volkswagen Group in a series of temporary exhibitions that underscore the visions of the company and the topics that define the group of companies. The inspiring expo centre encompasses a hospitaltity area and state-of-the-art facilities for meetings and conventions. All of the VW Group’s brands feature at the centre, from Volkswagen to Audi, SEAT, SKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN. The brands will be showcased in exhibitions that change every three months.
A variety of vehicles to showcase brands
The original building project was initiated by the corporate real estate division, Volkswagen Immobilien GmbH, with the support of the architectural firm Professor Christoph Maeckler Architekten. The design of the audiovisual solutions was delivered by macom who turned the brand world into an interactive audiovisuel experience. Since the location opened its doors, the brands of the Volkswagen Group have taken visitors through a variety of exhibitions, either by specific brand or across several brands, with plenty of opportunities to experience innovation at close quarters. The forum includes a variety of multimedia features and is the ideal location for bringing the research activities of the company to life. It also showcases the company’s innovations in everyday driving situations (such as ist intelligent driving assistance systems) and shows how the company rolls out its international brand campaigns.
The forum makes it possible to bring key brand messages to life and has proven to be particularly effective at capturing the imagination not only of visitors but also of passers-by. The AV technology in the exhibition areas and conference rooms is part of a high-quality fixed installation offering a variety of ways to showcase brands through exhibitions, vehicle presentations, press events, conventions and even special events. The technology is also adoptable and expandable, providing the optimal technical infrastructure to play to the brand’s strengths as one of the leading automotive companies.
Key objective: optimized integration of future-ready technology
While planning the modern AV technology to be used at the forum, the macom engineers fixed their sights firmly on one objective: integration into the architecture of the building using ideal technology solutions and at the same time using premium quality components for the most cost-effective outcome. The approach adopted for the systems was based on a modular concept. The networked AV systems had to be adoptable to future requirements and safeguar the on-going efficiency of VW’s ultramodern communication platform. This was all in keeping with the future-driven, visionary technology and developments of the company.
“The systems planned by macom allow us to bring brand messages to life and offer visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in our world of brands.”
Cornelia Schneider | Head of DRIVE. The Volkswagen Group Forum
Effective product presentation
As soon as they walk through the door, visitors to DRIVE. The Volkswagen Group Forum are greeted by 40" LC displays, positioned upright on six of the building’s pillars. This installation uses networked server and media players to synchronize video content and match images interactively to the worlds of the 12 company brands. Then follows an open exhibition area with a razor-sharp LED screen, the centrepiece of the forum. This can be used to turn the spotlight on current topics and the visions of current presentations.
The aweinspiring LED screen measures 40 sqm, with a pixel pitch of only 2.5 mm and an overall resolution of 5760 x 1152 pixels – providing plenty of sharpness, brightness and colour homogeneity. The system uses an optimised image reproduction technology that was planned by macom and fine-tuned to meet usage requirements. Another particularly useful element of the presentation technology is an oversized screen embedded in a ceiling shaft between the lobby and the exhibition area. Measuring 15 x 7.5 metres, this system helps section off the area, offering an additional upward projection area for visual displays.
Design in harmony with acoustics
In the same way that the roar of the engine is an important feature of a sports car, the project managers at Volkswagen and the experts from macom decided that the acoustics of the rooms should to be just right at the Volkswagen Forum. To create the right atmosphere, the acoustics of the rooms were planned in minute detail, drawing on a series of measurements, simulations and calculations to achieve the best possible sound and echo configuration. The systems were set up to provide visitors with 3D sound using over 100 speakers, each developed specially by the macom experts. These speakers don’t merely adjust to the surroundings provided by the building but also blend in with the architecture. Loudspeakers are discretely mounted on the ceilings and walls to deliver a virtual backdrop of sound and make each multifunctional room useful for pleasant conversation or musical performances.
The aim of delivering acoustic excellence in each room, achieved in part by timing echoes to the millisecond, was to make speech as easy as possible to understand and to minimise background noise, whatever the source of potential audible interference. The system itself is easy to use and configure, featuring secure wireless technology that can be routed within the network as required. This underscores the user-friendliness of the system, with rapid availability, ultimate sound transmission quality and plenty of flexibility to simply switch the system on and get going. The controls can be operated through a touch panel and mixing console.
“Our goal was to create a communication platform spanning the entire group of companies, innovatively conveying to the outside world the driving topics that we consider important. Thanks to the professional services provided by macom, we have achieved that most efficiently.”
Cornelia Schneider | Head of DRIVE. The Volkswagen Group Forum
To place the right emphasis, the entire lighting system uses LEDs. This involves 160 ellipsoidal reflector spotlights in a specially designed lighting carriage that can be positioned as required, offering outstanding energy efficiency and variable shades of colour. The system allows users to illuminate individual areas as required and bring exhibits to the fore.
It was important that the Volkswagen Group Forum is also easy and efficient to use on a day-to-day basis once the systems went live, and not just easy to get up and running. To guarantee this, macom equipped the forum with an AV resource management system. This accesses information on the status of each room or item of equipment through a central control centre, drawing on a complement of useful features that make it possible to set on and off times, set up notifications if there is a fault and carry out a variety of evaluations.
Fully equipped conference rooms
The conference room area offers five meeting rooms covering an area of 1200 sqm. The rooms, which are all named after a different landmark in Berlin, are equipped with modern projection technology including wireless hotspots. There is also a VIP suite measuring 207 sqm with its own video conferencing system.
DRIVE. The Volkswagen Group Forum is Volkswagen’s way of offering visitors inspiring insights into a unique world of company brands, in a concept that merges the actual presentation of vehicles with the company’s visions of the future – captured in a digital, multimedia experience from start to finish, in a similar vein to the Audi City showrooms. Thanks to macom’s design and engineering of the audio visual systems, the result is a unique communication platform that not only underscores the high innovation and technology standards of the Volkswagen Group but also highlights the quality of macom services in a AV concept that can be considered a leading example of best practice.
Volkswagen Immobilien GmbH
Concept and Planning: macom
Project Manager: Mario Margonari
Partner: Thomas Hülsmann
Christoph Mäckler Architekten
Rhein Licht Beratende Lichtpartner
Amptown System Company GmbH