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Totems, monitors, touch tables: the digital museum Casa Marcegaglia

The Vela, the Chain of Values, and the Digital Libraries: Casa Marcegaglia is not just video projection. Here we talk about other rooms that have totem poles, monitors, interactive tables, and other solutions designed by ACS Data Systems/INFINITYS as their main actors.
Totems, monitors, touch tables: the digital museum Casa Marcegaglia

In June 2023, the official inauguration of the new “Casa Marcegaglia” Museum was held. A complex project that has finally "seen the light," a valid concept especially on this occasion, since it is about an experiential path made mainly of video projections.
The description of these immersive and interactive solutions, which tell the identity of the Marcegaglia Group, the great steel empire, can be found in our blog article Museum video projections, the multimedia museum Casa Marcegaglia.
In this article, we want to give due importance to the other parts of the museum, which consists of spaces that use different technologies and deserve to be explored in depth.
We focus particularly on three environments:

  • the Vela (at the entrance, the area before the reception);
  • the Catena dei Valori (space with a video wall and an interactive table as protagonists);
  • the Academy Digital Library and the Digital Library (spaces for events and training and dissemination moments equipped with an audience, interactive projection, monitor).

We discuss this in a second article through the comments of Marco Grandelli, Database Administrator, Marcegaglia Group, and our Emanuele Rossi, Head of Digital Signage Operations, ACS Data Systems.

What made the difference with Marcegaglia was a dialogue based on exchange and transparency from the beginning, which was maintained as a value throughout all stages of collaboration, addressing without omissions even the critical issues. We listened very carefully to desires and needs, so we found a better compromise on every point, with a strong focus on details, engaging with all the people involved and jointly working out the project. We really see ourselves as partners, fully sharing the challenge

Emanuele Rossi is Head of Digital Signage Operations at ACS Data Systems-INFINITYS.

The Vela

It's the space that welcomes visitors, before the reception. «It was called Vela – Grandelli explains - because of its particular shape that resembles the sail of a ship. In this installation, there are three interactive totems where, through touchscreens, it is possible to browse * interactive digital *catalogs dedicated to Marcegaglia's history and activity. From here, the visitor can access the entire world of Marcegaglia: its production, history, museum, etc..».

Digital sails placed at the entrance to the Casa Marcegaglia museum.

«We have designed these totems – explains Emanuele Rossi - to have a particular, extremely linear shape, as requested by the architect who was in charge of the project. They are almost 2 meters tall but only 50 cm wide; they are made of steel painted black. They look like blades. We therefore chose ultra-stretch monitors to adapt to the shape».

The Catena dei Valori

Located after the Steno Room dedicated to the founder Steno Marcegaglia, there is the Catena dei Valori, a large space where a 22-monitor video wall is placed 'in a chain' next to each other on the walls and a central touch table. «This room was called the Catena dei Valori (Chain of Values) – Grandelli explains - because the films shown on the monitors tell the values on which Marcegaglia is founded, through images taken from all stages of work and corporate life: production, transport, distribution, the uses of steel, etc.. These stages are transmitted on a different part of the chain so that the visitor can see them all; then, graphic elements cross the row of monitors and generate a kind of 'wave,' a 'tsunami' that overwhelms all the images and prepares the monitors for other content, creating a kind of 'cut'. Moreover – Grandelli continues – the room can also be used for external events and presentations. Just connect a PC, and you can freely choose which images to transmit to the monitors».

Touch table and a chain of monitors at the Marcegaglia House Museum.

Emanuele Rossi then goes into the technical aspects of the room: «The 21x1 mt Digital Wall consists of borderless monitors, configured as a single banner. The system is very flexible and allows projecting the same content on each monitor or a group of them, or using them as a single viewing space through specially designed content as in the case of the 'tsunami' wave. In view of this 'unified' use, it was crucial to work a lot on synchronization and color uniformity, considering both the light coming from the roof and their distance from the table (some are 3m away, others 5m). Visitors, being able to move freely in the room, take different viewing points concerning the video wall, and this made the content display even more complex on the monitors themselves».
Rossi continues to focus on the multimedia table: «The table is in the center of the room. We made it as ACS, with an interactive surface that includes 3 touch displays connected to a single computer, usable in a unique configuration or individually. With the table, you can browse the contents and manage the projections on the monitor chain. Since the displays are protected by glass, we had to work a lot on touch regulation to avoid parallax errors and offer a quality interactive experience».
Rossi then dwells on the use of the room as an event space and presentations; explaining that «the monitors can display third-party content thanks to the installation of the Barco system, Clickshare, which allows quickly connecting any device and putting it in a position to transmit video, images or presentations on the video wall. Additionally, the room is equipped with a microphone system and a sound system of a standard».

The Digital Libraries

Now let's talk about two other spaces: the Academy Digital Library and the Digital Library. The Academy Digital Library is the space designed for Marcegaglia Academy, the project launched by the Mantuan steel group for managerial training.
«In the space – Emanuele Rossi explains - there is an interactive Epson projector in front of the audience, which acts as a blackboard and allows sharing notes with students, and 3 50-inch monitors embedded in the walls, that turn on and tilt towards those seated to support reading from the back rows. This space is also equipped with a sound system that ensures a high-level distribution and a Clickshare system that facilitates the exchange of materials and video conferencing with remote interlocutors».

The Digital Library has a similar concept: a smaller audience, an Epson projector, two fixed monitors, and – a particular detail - two tables on which two 24-inch touchscreen monitors are installed. «It is the station dedicated to the digital library – explains+ Grandelli - and those who visit can sit and browse the digital contents of the library».
«We carried out the work during the pandemic, with the advantages and disadvantages of the case. But among the advantages was certainly the opportunity, since everything was 'stopped', to have the time to observe every single detail and offer the project truly exceptional care"».

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