This month, we will explore the lighting control scheme for Lightscape, a placemaking project on Chicago’s historic State Street. Lighting design by:
Marty Peck & Jacqueline Dupre Kinney, Lighting Designers, Creative Lighting Design & Engineering, LLC (lighting design)
Doug MacDonald & Larry Schoeneman, Lighting Designers, Design Lab (controls design)
Teresa Fourcher, Robert Sit & Ernie Wong, Lighting Designers, Site Design Group, Ltd.
Photography by Fotofanatik Photography Bernadette. Lighting by e:cue and Traxon Technologies.
LightScape is a placemaking project on Chicago’s State Street. The historic shopping district’s business owners chose to spend its $1.25M 5year holiday lighting budget on a permanent attraction aimed at drawing tourists and shoppers. LightScape aimed to create a unique, progressive, artistic identity for the district.
Annual power usage was reduced by 93% (almost 140,000 kWh) and traditional holiday “twinkle” lighting will be kept out of landfills.
Twelve clusters of “reeds” were installed in existing planters along the 3/4-mile streetscape. Each includes up to 56 custom, individually controlled RGB LED fixtures and a sound system. Each cluster consists of three or four ingrade
boxes, with custom drilled covers where fixtures and speakers are mounted.
Inside these boxes are submersible enclosures containing communication and control hardware, alongside LED power supplies and dimming controllers. Control enclosures use panel mounted connectors, to streamline overnight repairs in the field.
Due to budget, schedule and infrastructure constraints, commercially available 802.11n WiFi networking was chosen to stream real-time lighting and audio data to the street. Each cluster communicates via an antenna mounted on an adjacent street lighting pole. Lighting control data is updated 40 times per second.
Control is achieved from a server near the center of the project area. Rooftop mounted WiFi antennas stream data to the clusters below. A secure internet connection allows remote management and cuing of special events.
Special consideration was taken to allow both street level and web-based interactive controls to be added at a later date.
An existing RGB LED installation on a train station was placed under LightScape’s control.
LightScape’s programming changes seasonally, and includes segments evocative of natural phenomena? abstract, energetic patterns of color? and precisely choreographed routines, with lights “dancing” to musical accompaniment.