Project Description


Barclays’ Africa affiliate, Absa, undertook a significant rebranding initiative to establish itself as the leading African financial institution. They wanted their headquarters, located in the Central Business District of Johannesburg, to represent a dramatic expression of the rebranding. Capitalizing on their proven and trusted relationship with HMG, Barclays retained us as the owner’s representative to lead the design and integration management of the building’s new high-rise signage.


HMG envisioned a bold solution that would act as a storytelling platform for the CBD and surrounding neighborhoods. We designed a heroic-scale signage system that not only rebranded Absa, but also delivered dynamic public service and cultural messages through an intelligent digital out-of-home broadcast. The media-driven, digital LED sign, sitting atop one of the tallest buildings in Johannesburg, is the world’s largest video billboard, visible to citizens throughout the city.


Completed in record time of nine months, the rebranded building positioned Absa as a leading and growing force in the digital banking evolution across the continent of Africa. Equally important, the new signage, with its dynamic cultural content, makes a strong connection to the people of South Africa, providing civic empowerment for the rejuvenation of Johannesburg’s Central Business District.

The Details.

With our expertise in bringing together global, world-class teams, HMG led the conceptualization, design, technology research and integration management, and ongoing programming. Collaborating with other project principals, we advised in all phases of construction. Our team also supported rigorous regulatory reviews with the city of Johannesburg, provided valuable photo documentation through construction, conducted resource and technology assessments, and researched energy-efficient products and qualified manufacturers.

The four-sided digital LED signage transformed a 1970’s building into a dynamic, culturally relevant, high-tech pillar that rises out of Johannesburg’s Central Business District.

The display sets a new standard for digital LED signage as the largest and most energy efficient LED sign of its kind in the world and with one of the largest rooftop photovoltaic arrays in Africa.