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News in pictures 13 October 2010

Proel’s a tower of strength; Artcoustic’s Italian job; ETC lights China’s Guangzhou Opera House; Alcons invisible at Esbjerg Performing Arts Centre

Moresco is a splendid medieval hamlet, only few kilometers from the Adriatic Coast, in the Marche Region of Italy, and its symbolic centre is a 25-meter-high heptagonal tower dating back to the 12th century. This year the municipality celebrated a hundred years since its autonomy and commissioned a permanent lighting system for the ancient tower.

The installation included seven Proel Nightwave PLAT150CNBKs – a DMX-controlled architectural colour changer with a 150 W discharge lamp and CMY colour mixing system – positioned at the base of the tower, in the corners. These can provide either programmed colour changes or fixed colours, depending on the type of event taking place.

“Lighting no longer means directing the light of a few fixtures toward an object, especially when that object has a high historical value in the urban context that hosts it, as in the case of the Moresco Tower,” explained Proel Group’s lighting product manager Roberto Meggiolaro. “Architectural lighting needs to be considered as a way to enhance the element that requires illumination, yet you have to avoid excessively spectacular renderings which could overshadow or, even worse, diminish the artistic value of the historical element. This is the concept we applied and we are very happy with the result of Proel’s project for Moresco’s Tower.”

Modus Vivendi has carried out this high quality installation at Poltrona Frau’s prestigious London showroom.

High end Italian brand Poltrona Frau makes some of the finest seating in the world. They are used throughout the world in some of the most prestigious auditoriums and presentation theatres. To show its range in the London showroom, Poltrona Frau requested a cinema system of appropriate quality to suit their client base. 

Artcoustic’s Spitfire monitors and subwoofers were installed behind the acoustically transparent screen, with Diablo Targets on rear channels. A discrete and elegant solution

The new Guangzhou Opera House – one of the three largest performance venues in China – boasts ETC’s entertainment and architectural lighting systems.

Located in China’s third largest city, the Guangzhou Opera complex is futuristic in its architecture and theatre technology. The two part structure, composed of the 1,800 seat Grand Theatre and an adjoining 400 seat multipurpose hall, rises as a powerful new symbol from the banks of the Pearl River. Designed by award winning architect Zaha Hadid, the 42,000 sq m complex aspires not only to be an icon for Guangzhou’s new Zhu Jiang business district but for China’s rising cultural status.

When the £130m (€155m) facilities debuted in May, the lighting control was from two ETC Eos control desks; Eos Client software (for remote console programming); and multiple ETC Net3 Gateways for full ACN networked functionality.

The Grand Theatre’s permanent lighting rig also includes 360 ETC fixtures: 220 ETC Source Four luminaires (a mix of 5°, 10°, 14°, 19° and 26° fixed focus spotlights and 15-30° range zoom spotlights), as well as 140 Source Four Revolution automated fixtures. Fifteen ETC Sensor+ racks installed with a total of 986 5kW dimmers, 24 10kW dimmers and 406 5kW relays manage all stage dimming.

Houselights and worklights are controlled by an extensive ETC Unison architectural system with touchscreen-control wall stations and portable stations.

The Performing Arts Centre (“Musikhuset”) in Esbjerg, a harbour city on the rugged west coast of Denmark, hosts many diverse cultural activities ranging from rock concerts, ballet and opera. Attracting 150,000 visitors a year, the centre has always been hampered by the fact that it lacked a medium-sized venue for theatre. Now Esbjerg Musikhuset has built a new modern theatre, capable of seating 500 guests, designed by architects Jan Utzon and his father Jørn Utzon, famous for his design of Sydney’s Opera House.

“Choosing an appropriate PA system was more difficult than first envisioned,” said Paul van Zijl, in-house sound technician. Working with facilities manager Christian Søvad, the pair took from Utzon’s design philosophy, and placed people in the centre of that decision. “Many modern theatres today have big line array systems, flown high above the proscenium and this was just not an option for us,” said van Zijl. “These flown systems detract from the total theatre experience, not just aesthetically, but also place the sound source high above the audience.”

What was wanted was a sound system that could be built into the sides of the proscenium, hidden from view and covering the whole hall including a balcony. Alcons Q-series, a group of modular line-source array columns, was judged to be best suitable for the task. “The QR36s proved to be perfect in the ability to be recessed into the side of the proscenium: two for the floor and two above these for the balcony along with the BF302 subs neatly hidden from view underneath the proscenium,” explained van Zijl.