Trump Tower Condo Uses Shades as 110” Screen
No room for a big screen? Think again. Here's a viable alternative.
September 21, 2010 by Lisa Montgomery

Think you have no room for a big screen in your bedroom? Think again.

The renter of this one-bedroom condo in the Trump Tower in Chicago uses the shades that cover an expanse of floor-to-ceiling windows as a display. It’s less than a perfect setup, admits Brian Miller of Connecteriors, the firm that played a role in designing the clever application. “A window shade is never going to give you the color imagery or the black levels of a specialty theater screen,” he says, but in this particular room, it was the best option.

Most of the wall space was consumed by windows, which limited the mounting options for a flat-panel TV. An entertainment cabinet or shelving system was out too, as the room simply wasn’t large enough to accommodate another piece of furniture. Installing a retractable screen was considered, but the renter didn’t feel comfortable pursuing a complicated construction project.

Photos: Trump Tower Condo Uses Shades as 110” Screen

“The idea to use the window shades as a screen started when the interior designer, Briana Steele of Chicago–based theorie, randomly mentioned it,” says Miller. “But after thinking about it, and looking at shading fabrics [from Lutron], we thought it just might work. The renter knew it wasn’t going to be ideal, performance wise, but he was willing to take the risk.”

Connecteriors tested several fabrics at their shop, and ultimately chose a white blackout material from Lutron Electronics. “It was the most characteristic of a projection screen,” says Miller. Two panels of the blackout shades, in addition to a two panels of transparent window sheers, would be attached to a motorized assembly mounted at the top of the window. All four panels can be operated via a handheld universal remote or a wall-mounted keypad at the entrance to the room.

Most of the time, only the sheers are down, which lets in some light and the view of Lake Michigan, but minimizes a build up of heat from the sun. When the renter is ready to watch a movie, or simply wants some privacy, he presses a button and the blackout shades descend over the sheers, providing complete darkness … and a place to display the show.

The movies come courtesy of a video projector, hidden behind the opposite wall of the shades, actually within a bedroom closet. A hole cut into the wall allows the lens to peak through and transmit a 110-inch image onto the shade … I mean screen.

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Lisa Montgomery - Contributing Writer
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.

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