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 lighting controls installation at a museum dinosaur exhibit. Lighting control design by Avraham Mor of Morlights. Photography by Thatcher Waller of Morlights. Integration by Intelligent Lighting Creations. Lighting controls by ETC (Mosaic) and Xicato.
SUE, the Field Museum’s famous T- Rex skeleton, used to reside in main hall of the museum until curators decided to move the dinosaur to its own dedicated hall upstairs. A new 5,000 SF exhibit showcases the artifact, plus a multimedia presentation about the dinosaur, how it lived, and the ongoing research being done on SUE.
Perfecting the lighting surrounding SUE, as well as the multi- media presentation that interacts with the artifact itself, was a complex challenge. The project included a three- month prototyping phase enabling the Field Museum to understand exactly how the artifact would be lit before moving into the new hall.
The exhibit is designed as various projection vignettes telling the story of SUE’s life. Lighting changes were used to signal the start of each new vignette and to highlight the artifact in conjunction with the story.
Ambient lighting throughout the hall changes in correlation with the show. In addition to SUE, there are various case lighting and graphic lighting strategies that highlight related material. New, never- before- used technology was employed that controls the lighting through Bluetooth mesh technology. The lights are all linked to each other wirelessly and coordinated by a show controller.
The lighting design also had to allow for special events in the hall; presets were designed enabling SUE to be lit in various colors while still maintaining proper lighting levels to ensure the artifact is unharmed. The exhibit has been successful due to the innovative technology. Theatrical fixtures were used to control the focus of different parts of SUE, making it appear more life- like. Drama was created through fixtures designed to excite the audience, encourage them to use their imaginations, and share SUE’s amazing story.
Because of SUE’s popularity with Museum visitors, the team fast- tracked the project and delivered it three months earlier than anticipated.