The Lighting Control Innovation Award was created in 2011 as part of the Illuminating Engineering Society’s Illumination Awards program, which recognizes professionalism, ingenuity and originality in lighting design. LCA is proud to sponsor the Lighting Control Innovation Award, which recognizes projects that exemplify the effective use of lighting controls in nonresidential applications.
This month, we explore a dynamic, complex lighting controls installation at the Riverfront Park Pavilion in Spokane, WA. Lighting control design by NAC Engineering. Photography by Jesse Slesar and John Moore. Lighting and controls by Ketra (full-spectrum wireless Bluetooth beacon-enabled track lighting).
The renovated Pavilion, positioned in the heart of downtown Spokane’s Riverfront Park, is a dramatic landmark that transformed the city’s visual identity. Each night, the Pavilion’s uniquely illuminated form creates an inspiring beacon that can be seen from across the city. To define the iconic cable-net structure of the Pavilion, an innovative light-blade system was created that allows park technicians to create highly customized light shows. Each of the 479 blades, which vary in length from three feet to six feet, can mix light together using red, green, blue and white color LED chips and is independently programmable. The range of control options ensures that every event, whether a community gathering or headliner performance, can be accompanied by a unique visual feast of lights.
The controls have expandable features, including the capability of setting the lights to respond dynamically to music. Several different control interfaces are present including touch screens, a physical DMX mixing console, and jacks for connecting mobile mixing consoles for different events. Another feature is the system’s ability to use the light blades for emergency egress lighting, overriding any light show or setting upon loss of normal power.
Controls & Conservation
The controllability of the system allows the park to conserve energy. While run at 100% during light shows, or when used for emergency egress lighting, the lights are usually run at less than 50% output. The blades are operated at a minimal level after midnight, providing only a low level of lighting for safety and security. The luminaires are all run on DC current, making it extremely efficient at the distances present in the long runs of luminaires. This also allows for fewer power supplies and controls components in the whole system, since the DC current can carry power along
The reimagined Pavilion has transformed the Spokane skyline. Its controllability allows it to constantly reinvent itself for the public’s visual experience.
Using a DMX lighting system consisting of 17 universes and nearly 10,000 controllable channels, the Pavilion is a theatrical environment with enormous creative flexibility.
The system is comprised of 479 blades in total, organized in nineteen separate spirals that travel up along the cable structure.
The lighting system allows the Pavilion to participate visually in Spokane’s culture—whether celebrating local festivals or gathering the Gonzaga basketball fanbase to watch games.
On each spiral, the team could not exceed the available channels for the universe, nor the distance that the DMX translator could push data.
These design constraints guided the placement of the enclosures that contain the power and controls equipment for each spiral.
Each of the blades can be independently controlled to mix light together using red, green, blue, and white LED chips.
Within each universe, power and control components are located on the ground in weather-proof enclosures, separate from luminaires—making access and maintenance much more efficient.
The sophisticated controls system allows the City to conserve energy when not running light shows; the lights are typically run at less than 50% output.
The Park has the flexibility to create endless variations of light shows, seasonal themes, and standard ambient lighting scenarios.