Vanishing Screens Appear To Do Well

Zoom launched in 2012. But it took another 8 years — and a global pandemic — for most people to understand that you don’t need to be in the same room (or even on the same continent) to attend a meeting.

It did not take that long for Mark Motyl’s idea to take off. But it was no instant success either.

Mark Motyl

The longtime Westporter had 2 previous careers — he traded bonds and built spec houses — before starting Vivid-Tek. The company builds customized furniture — credenzas, benches, dressers — that hides the components of a large home theater screen. It emerges when needed with the push of a 6-button Apple remote; when not in use, it retracts back into invisibility.

It was a brilliant, elegant solution to the problem of an enormous black rectangle that would otherwise dominate a living room or bedroom wall.

“We help architects and interior designers deliver on the nice spaces they promise to clients,” Motyl says. “You can hide this TV right underneath really nice artwork, or a big window.”

A credenza opens up into a wide-screen TV.

But in the first year after opening a Post Road showroom in the Greens Farms Spirit Shop/Fortuna’s plaza, sales were slow.

Motyl thought he had” reinvented entertainment.” Instead: crickets.

Now though, he sells a unit a week. Two Bridgeport cabinet workshops are humming. He’s ready to put Westport on the entrepreneurial map.

Part \of the reason is enhanced marketing. But word of mouth is important too. It just took a while for that word to spread.

In February, Julia Marino’s family and friends gathered in the showroom to watch her silver-winning snowboard performance at the Beijing Olympics.

The word is out now about Vanish Media Systems. Motyl changed the name (suggested by a Staples High School intern) when he realized “Vivid-Tek” was hard to explain. The hyphen and odd spelling of “tech” did not help.

Word of mouth means that Vanish units are located in clusters. There’s one in Manhattan; others in areas like Hilton Head, South Carolina and Center Harbor, New Hampshire. Systems are already installed in 8 states.

One cluster is right here, in Motyl and Vanish Systems’ hometown. An installation in a Beachside Avenue room redesigned by Roger Ferris + Partners, transforms the space from one with water views to a high-quality screening room — then back again.

A room with water views on Beachside Avenue becomes a screening center.

There’s more ahead. Motyl also worked with architect Ronni Molinari and technologist Gioel Molinari to create a walnut system on casters, with a 110-inch screen, for Autostrada, the couple’s very cool event space next to Fire Department headquarters,

Motyl is collaborating too with Staples High to develop a mobile unit. In the future: a fleet of installation vans, for the tri-state area.

One area of Vanish Media Systems has not yet taken off: the showroom.

“Very few people stop in,” Motyl acknowledges. But with comfortable seats and plenty of snacks, it’s a welcoming space — and available for private events, like inviting friends for a movie, or watching the World Cup.

“There’s zero sales pressure” when anyone comes, Motyl says. Call ahead, though: 203-246-2011.

Sam Seideman (2nd from left) invited a group to watch his appearance with Gordon Ramsay, in the Vanish Media showroom. The unit vanishes into the seat below.

“I’m not an industry professional,” Motyl notes. “But innovation often comes from outsiders.”

And although he’s not an industry professional, he plays one — very successfully — on TV.

(For more information on Vanish Media Systems, click here.)

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2 responses to “Vanishing Screens Appear To Do Well

  1. Having used the Vanish Media space for an event and seeing the screens up close, I can say the picture quality is phenomenal. And the technology behind the retractable units is really amazing. Nicely done, Mark!

    • I was about to comment the same but you beat me to it! Highly recommend visiting Mark’s showroom to check out the hidden screens. The screens are awesome – and so is Mark! 🙂