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Case study – Anolis lights up Johannesburg retail mall

Anolis lights spectacular roof at Protea Court, the new extension to Johannesburg’s glamorous retail destination Sandton City.

Protea Court is the newly opened extension to South Africa’s most desirable and glamorous retail destination – Sandton City in Johannesburg.

It features a stunning architectural lighting installation designed by Paul Pamboukian and senior lighting designer Joao Viegas of Paul Pamboukian Lighting Design (PPLD). The project includes 115 Anolis ArcPad 48 and 12 ArcSource 96 fixtures used to highlight the spectacular 34 metre high, 42 metre diameter, 11 degree sloping roof structure and its ETFE inflatable skin.

Equipment was supplied by Anolis’ South African distributor DWR, who also undertook the installation and commissioning of the lighting system. DWR’s team of three installation technicians all completed full Rope Access and Working at Height safety courses before starting on site, with approximately 70% of the Anolis fixtures needing to be rigged externally on the roof structure.@page_break@

Protea Court – which houses 70 new international and luxury retail outlets – was inspired by the shape of South Africa’s national flower, the Protea and designed by Tia Kanakakis from MDS Architects. PPLD has worked with MDS Architects on previous projects, and was asked to create an innovative lighting scheme to accentuate the striking shape of Protea Court, in the process capturing the mood and spirit of the whole cutting-edge development and retail experience with lighting.

PPLD’s ‘green’ lighting technology matches the energy efficient ethos behind the ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) roof, a fluorine-based product with high corrosion resistance and strength over a wide temperature range. Just two microns thick, it lets through all natural light, whilst providing very robust insulation.

PPLD also wanted to ensure that the long-term operational and running costs of the lighting scheme were efficient and budget friendly – so LED was an obvious route. After exhaustive testing, they knew that using colour changing LEDs would work in the space and also offer additional dynamic, flexible options, eg shading the roof differently for special events and occasions. In addition to this, they were convinced that the texture, look and feel of high quality modern LED fixtures was ideal for the application.@page_break@

Aesthetically, overall, they wanted the lighting to accentuate the intense verticality of the space and make the strong structural definition of the roof with its beams and girders come alive and ‘breathe’. The central lift shaft is based on the idea of the Protea-stem, bursting out at the top into this beautiful petal-like curvature and canopy.

Fixtures that produced a smooth, rich even coverage with no shadows, pixilation or blockiness across the roof expanse were of paramount importance, and this is one of many areas where Anolis really performs.

The 115 ArcPad 48 and 12 ArcSource 96s are arranged over three rings around the roof dome, of which a centre cluster of 60 ArcPad 48 Integrals above the top of the lift shaft are the only Anolis fixtures inside the building. Above these – outside – are 12 ArcPad 96s in the centre, plus the other 55 ArcPad 48s on two rings lower down. They are all optimised to wash the entire roof area complete with its elegant air filled undulations and features. Three very subtle mixed-colour looks are currently programmed as default states, adding finesse and complementing the huge architectural statement made by the roof itself.@page_break@

“Using Anolis fixtures and DWR for the installation were definitely the right moves,” confirms Paul Pamboukian. “It all works exactly as I envisioned.”

Data is distributed via four LSC DMX splitters, the Anolis units are powered locally and some special ESA Pro Stand Alone PC-based control software was dispatched from the UK, which is programmed to run various scenes from dusk to dawn; slowly changing the accent illumination on the structure, with sporadic colour bursts on the hour and for special events.

The biggest physical challenge for the DWR site team of Bruce Riley, Eazy Moketsi and JC du Plessis was the tough working conditions. With very few areas of the roof that could be walked on, most of the rigging was done from the air, an arduous task taking four weeks to complete, and contending with assorted weather conditions – from rain to high winds – all of which interfered with the workflow.

Pictured, left to right: Duncan Iley (DWR), Paul Pamboukian (PPLD), Bruce Riley (DWR), Joao Viegas (PPLD), Dan Riley (DWR), Nic Britz (DWR).