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GDS develops special solution for London’s Southbank

The first Festival of Britain was held in 1951, and during 2011, it celebrated its 60th birthday. GDS was asked to shed new light on the proceedings.

Lighting and control specialist manufacturer GDS was commissioned to develop a flexible lighting solution in a disused area of London’s Southbank as part of the Festival of Britain anniversary celebrations. The space was to be part of the centre’s redevelopment project, with plans to build a garden and green event space for the festival celebrations.

The Royal Festival Hall (RFH) opened in 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain and is at the heart of the Southbank Centre, welcoming orchestras, operas and contemporary music from around the world.

After completing a site survey, the GDS Specials team developed a solution utilising the existing original infrastructure. The decision was made to remove the compact fluorescent light fittings from the existing fixtures, refurbish the fittings where necessary and install an LED-based solution. The GDS Specials team was able to design a bespoke solution that used the existing 1950s fittings and cables, causing minimal impact to the fabric of the building, whilst implementing a 21st century wireless remote control RGB lighting solution.

A lighting module was developed that could be used in various formats to fit both of the two types of bulkhead fitting already installed at the centre. The decision was taken to make the LED lighting modules RGB and give them individual addresses to ensure the fittings were truly flexible. The fittings are controlled via W-DMX, giving control of the entire area and allowing the programming of colour fades, sweeps and complete lighting states from the building control system.

GDS designed, delivered and installed a modular LED panel, which allowed it to retro fit the existing and original light fittings at the Southbank Centre. The installation included 24 large rectangular units, each with five LED panels, 18 smaller rectangular units, each with two LED panels and 18 circular units, each with two LED panels. Each individual unit incorporated a W-DMX wireless DMX receiver and a custom-built LED driver/controller.