Our Work

Visualizing an office tower’s

green systems

This dynamic installation interprets information from the building’s green systems and translates it into light, color and sound.

The Tower at PNC Plaza was designed to be the greenest in the world. PNC looked to ESI Design to show that.

ESI designed The Beacon, a data-and-light media installation that soars more than 24-feet through the atrium lobby, with each of its 33 levels representing a floor of the tower.

The Beacon interprets data from the building’s advanced green systems and the external environment. Then, using 1,536 liquid-crystal polycarbonate panels, each backed with a grid of low-resolution LEDs, it translates this data into ever-changing patterns of light, color and sound.

The Tower at PNC Plaza has such advanced and responsive sustainable systems that it behaves in many ways like a living organism. The building “breathes” in fresh air to ventilate and adjust temperature, reduces the use of artificial light when natural sunlight is plentiful, reuses water, measures recycling, and more.

The installation inspires visitors and tenants to learn about how the building works. To aid their curiosity, ESI created a website, accessible from tablets in the lobby or any connected device or computer, that explains what The Beacon’s colorful light visualizations signify.

Melding artful expression, leading technologies and communications design, the Beacon has become an iconic presence in the Pittsburgh landscape.

Read ESI Design’s press release about The Beacon.

Learn more about the building in PNC’s press release.

Watch a short video about the creative process that led to The Beacon.

Experience Design



Data Visualization








Staff Training






“We went to ESI and said, how do we get the people in the building to understand how the building is performing?”

Gary Saulson

Executive Vice President
PNC Bank in Pittsburgh Business Times

768 aluminum modules


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