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Lighting and humans bounce back

A round-up of theatre lighting, home decorations and some novel ideas about maintaining health and safety on site As part of the £4 million refurbishment of London's Apollo Theatre in London, architects Jaques Muir and Partners, acting for ClearChannel Entertainment, commissioned Hoare Lea Lighting to reinterpret the auditorium lighting scheme.

The solution has been to replace the GLS lamps (at 3500 lumens) with LEDs to enable more lighting possibilities.

The original building used conventional light bulbs, so maintenance was regular and costly, and by using only two colours (aquamarine and amber), the lighting could only be faded and brightened with a limited colour mix.

The new design incorporates 83,895 LEDs (987 fixtures) organised in 160 separate controllable groups using 643 DMX (Digital MultipleX) channels. DMX enables multiple dimming to be controlled down one cable by sending out each dimming level in sequence, one after the other, and repeating the levels over and over again. This is called 'multiplexing'.

DMX is a widely-used standard that can control up to 512 dimming channels or other lighting units, down one 2-core cable.

LEDs were chosen because they have high-output, colour-mixing capacity, low running costs, durabilty, and in this configuration they avoided the need for dimmers.

The LEDs are located in the architectural details. Given that some fixtures are located in almost unreachable positions, the longevity of the lighting sources was an essential aspect of the design. Each group has four channels - red, green, blue and dimming - ensuring that almost any colour rendering combination can be provided at a range of intensities.

John Muir, senior partner at Jacques Muir and Partners, said:

'LEDs last for many years, so the need to access these places, which are almost impossible to reach, should be a long time hence. Running costs are also infinitely less than other lighting sources.

'The real pleasure of it is that we can render whatever colour we want. The feature lighting fulfils the brief to return this important building back to its original lighting mode.'

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