• Gurdon’s lighting design for MDNA necessarily develops around very specific needs of the show, especially taking into consideration the extensive choreography, the overall stage (designed by Mark Fisher and built by Tait Technologies), and the show evolution. “However, because the lead in time for this show was a lot shorter than normal, it was necessary for me to second guess a lot of this, as the show was still being developed long after the lighting design needed to be finalized,” Gurdon says.

    The performer herself, however, is always his starting point. “Everything is evaluated in relation to the requirement to ‘look after’ the star,” the designer says. “Beyond that, her shows are very theatrical, everything being there for a reason, and everything telling a story through costume, choreography, staging, and video material. The lighting treatment needs to be sympathetic to all of these aspects of the show, but underpinning everything is the music. The lighting needs to reflect and underpin the dynamic energy of the music, and sometimes that will trump any other consideration.”

    Gurdon’s rig includes 156 Clay Paky Sharpy units–”for their unparalleled efficiency ratio of size to intensity”–arranged in clusters to be used individually or grouped. Ninety-two PRG Best Boy 4000 Spot Luminaires were chosen “for their flat field, dynamic zoom range, flexibility, and fast and precise shuttering system.” These are used with 20 Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Spots primarily for keylighting.

    Twenty-eight Robe Robin 1200 LEDWash lights are used in the audience and in limited positions on the stage. “I chose them for their brightness and zoom range,” says Gurdon, adding that he felt there were limited opportunities to make use of LED lighting in this particular design.

    “I like the lighting rig to be functional and non-invasive. Some LED units seem to be a bit too visible as modern lighting fixtures, which isn’t always the right look. For example, the Sharpy clusters were perfect to simulate the shafts of light coming through the window of a virtual gothic cathedral, but an LED unit would have looked completely out of place. I use certain lights again and again as workhorses for specific jobs and will adopt new technology only if it offers something better in its workhorse function than what I have used to date, rather than for intricate features which are often of little interest to me because they seem to be more about lighting as an end in itself. The Robins were great for audience lights, for their instant color-changing, and their brightness. They had a few quirky features which seemed quite cool for one moment, but which I would be unlikely to use very often.”

    The MDNA lighting rig, supplied by PRG, also includes five GLP Impression 120 RZ LEDs, nine Robe Robin 600 LEDWash units, and 38 Philips Vari-Lite V:3500 Wash units. Followspots include four Lycian M2s, six Strong Lighting Gladiator IIIs, and three Brite Box units. Control comprises three PRG V676 consoles, one V476 console, and 11 PRG Virtuoso Node Plus units, as well as three City Theatrical SHoW DMX systems and 11 PRG Series 400 Data and Power Distribution Racks.


  • led light 12.03.2012 No Comments

    Goodbye, cubicle farms — with your assigned desks, tall partitions and fluorescent lights.

    Welcome to wide-open office space, with natural light pouring in, few assigned work stations, plump and comfy couches, team rooms, cafes, stand-up meeting spots and community work areas where employees can plug in their laptops whenever they happen to be in the office.

    A mobile, global, technology-driven workforce has prompted companies nationwide to rethink what offices mean.

    And we’re not just talking companies in cutting-edge industries on the West Coast.

    The integrated, collaborative, agile workplace trend is taking hold right here in Indiana at some of the state’s biggest-name companies. Think Eli Lilly and Co., Rolls-Royce, Cummins and Roche Diagnostics.

    Some have completed the transition. Some are under construction. Some are in the middle of piloting the concept.

    All are realizing the old way wasn’t necessarily the best way.

    “I’m sure we can all accomplish tasks in a cube, but there is something to be said for interacting all day. It really does help to foster innovation,” said Vanessa Cunningham, workplace planning leader at Cummins, which by the end of the year will have nearly 2,000 employees working in an open, collaborative environment at its Columbus offices. “We are able to inspire employees to be more creative and more collaborative.”

    Study after study has shown that in these types of work environments, creativity jumps, productivity jumps and so does employee morale, said Paul Lushin, an executive coach who owns Lushin & Associates, a sales and management training company in Indianapolis.

    “There is a reason people go to Starbucks to work, and it’s not because their coffee is 10 times better,” he said. “It’s the atmosphere. And, in a way, companies are creating that Starbucks atmosphere where people can be more productive.”

    And behind the creation of some of that atmosphere in Indianapolis is an architect named Drew White, founding partner of Axis Architecture + Interiors.

    His work designing integrated workplaces at Lilly and Cummins just earned him quite an honor: White was the only architect in the state to be elevated to the status of Fellow by the American Institute of Architects this year.

    The honor is just a bonus to what White said his work allows him to do: make life better for the people working in the offices he designs.

    Before he ever sketches his first plan, White’s firm surveys employees.

    “They tell us about the way they work and what kind of space they love, what they would want to have if they had their dream workspace,” said White, whose own firm is in the middle of constructing an integrated environment. “It allows each space to be different.”

    We went inside the offices of four companies — two of them designed by White — to see how their new office design works.


  • Michael and Edith Laba consider the weather more than most people.

    Activities that use a lot of electricity, such as vacuuming, washing and ironing, are programmed for sunny or breezy days, when their solar panels and two small wind turbines will be generating.

    A forecast of misty, sunless days is enough to amend their plans to less energy-intensive chores.

    While they are connected to mains electricity and have a back-up gas hot-water boiler, the couple like to use as much self-generated energy as possible.

    Mrs Laba, a French Canadian from a country with an abundance of electricity, says it “never crossed her mind” that electricity was something people might have to ration.

    “But it is quite satisfying to be self-sufficient and in control.” The couple, who met in Vancouver in the 1970s, moved to Dunedin in 1977, living first in Lynn St, Wakari, then in Garden Pl, Glenleith, for 25 years.

    Mr Laba, a retired University of Otago audio-visual technical adviser, had long been interested in passive solar homes - homes that use location, sunshine, heat-trapping masses such as concrete floors and walls, and large amounts of insulation to do most of the work of keeping the interior warm in winter and cool in summer.

    He had also begun generating electricity at Garden Pl and, 12 years ago, converted a Mini into an electric car.

    When he and his wife decided to build a new home, two things were non-negotiable - it had to be on a north-facing site to harness solar energy, and it had to have a harbour view.

    The couple searched for several years before settling on a Company Bay site and engaging Dunedin architectural designer Biz Boyle.

    Their smile-shaped, 160sq m, three-bedroom home, completed about six years ago, is just what they envisaged.

    For Mr Laba, there is a separate 90sq m garage and workshop, where he can potter and experiment.

    For Mrs Laba, there is a kitchen with a harbour view, and a bath with a view as well.

    However, their favourite room is an atelier, or studio, which runs the width of the western end of the house and is used as a study and a base for his electronics and her wool craft.

    The Labas have a Centameter, a device that gives a minute-by-minute read-out of electricity consumption. But they are not obsessive about reducing their energy consumption. They have three small televisions, a computer, a dishwasher, a microwave and a freezer.

    Their kitchen has a gas hob and gas oven, as well as as a half-sized electric oven. They use a pop-up toaster, an appliance Mr Laba says uses a surprisingly large amount of electricity.

    On the rare occasions when it is necessary, the couple supplement natural heating with a wall-mounted electric heater in the living room.

    Underfloor water-filled pipes can also be used to heat the living room and bathroom, an option Mr Laba estimates they use about 10 days a year.

    “Being warm is one of the main things in life. If you’re not warm, you’re miserable,” he says.

    Mrs Laba says she particularly enjoys warm feet in the mornings and evenings.

    Tags: ,

  • led light 21.12.2011 No Comments

    The Ada Village Council met in regular session on Tuesday evening for their final meeting of 2011, and handled some year-end matters.

    The Council members passed an ordinance on emergency that modifies some of the language on employee fringe benefits, including a recommended amendment from Fiscal Officer Crystal Huffer that has the village matching dollar for dollar, the contribution to employees’ Health Savings Accounts, up to $400. The ordinance will take effect with the new year.

    Mayor Dave Retterer applauded council for their “continued, civil, pointed, and deliberate conversations” in the meetings. He described 2011 as “a goofy year” but thanked the public for stepping up and assisting the village in resolving their financial problems through the May election.

    Council President David Nelson then read a resolution to council members thanking Ernie Daugherty for his four years of service to the Village Council.

    In other council business, it was approved to give all non-union employees an increase in wages for 2012 by 2.25 percent.

    Another resolution was approved to enter into an agreement with Mannik and Smith, who will do appraisals and right-of-way services for the West Lima Phase 2 project.

    Also passed on third and final reading was the ordinance that allows for the annual budget appropriations for 2012.

    Daugherty moved, on behalf of Ada Police Chief Michael Harnishfeger, to remove dispatcher Sherry Pitney from probationary status effective January 1, 2012, and it was approved.

    In his report, Village Administrator Jim Meyer informed council that the government will be banning the manufacture and sale of fluorescent bulbs (tubes) as soon as mid-2012. He had attended a seminar hosted by American Electric Power that explained why the bulbs will no longer be produced.

    The T-12 bulbs, which are 40 watt, are coated on the inside with a rare mineral from China. China has announced that it will be reducing its export of this mineral by 35 percent, and so the T-8 bulb will now be the only available fluorescent bulb available. The T-8 bulb is only available in four-foot size, as well. Many companies will have to change the ballasts they currently have, to support the T-8 at the four-foot length.

    At the seminar, AEP explained through their GridSmart program, they will give a $6.00 credit for every T-12 bulb that is replaced with a T-8 bulb.

    Meyer said that he has not officially counted how many bulbs the village currently uses, but wanted to make council aware of the upcoming change. He also said that with the upgrade to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, the designers can implement the new bulbs, as well as other energy-saving measures.

    Meyer then said he had some good news for the council - the village’s application to apply for a $700,000 loan for the design of the Wastewater Treatment Plant was approved. Now Meyer is working on the loan application, which is due in January, 2012. He should know in April if the one percent interest loan is approved. The money will be used towards the design costs of the plant.

    The first council meeting in January was pushed back in order to give Huffer time to close out 2011, and to do the first payroll.

    Tags: ,

  • Way back in 1985 the skyline of downtown Dallas was changed forever with the addition of Dallas Main Center, a 72-story art deco skyscraper outlined in tubes filled with argon gas. For nearly three decades, the crisp, green lines defining the Bank of America Tower, as it’s now known, have helped give the city of Dallas an iconic skyline easily recognizable the world over.

    Nearly three decades later, another signature Dallas skyscraper will redefine the city at night. Beginning Tuesday, the 55-story keyhole building will be awash in cool blue light after sunset, and for every sunset thereafter if things go as planned.

    As much as the sports fans of North Texas might like to suspect the blue is for the Cowboys or Mavericks, it’s more likely for JP Morgan Chase, the tower’s current namesake.

    LEDs will illuminate the north and south faces of JP Morgan Chase Tower in sapphire, while additional lights will flood the “keyhole.” A matching blue Chase logo will be installed on the tower’s north side in December.

    The Chase building’s keyhole is currently illuminated with white flood lights. Chase said the new LED lights will be more energy-efficient, more reliable and longer-lasting. The 24-year-old building is certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council.

    The color change isn’t purely for aesthetics.  Chase said the new lights are a way to plant a flag in Dallas and to let people know they are “a major employer and community supporter” who has raised more than “$8.7 billion for Texas governments and nonprofits since 2010.”

    “Chase has more than 13,500 employees in North Texas, and we’re contributing $4 million to two landmark projects in downtown Dallas - Woodall Rogers Park and construction of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science,” said Elaine Agather, chairman of Chase in Dallas.

    In their news release, they also mentioned they were the largest SBA lender in not only Dallas, but the state of Texas.

    Those are all good things, all worth highlighting.

    Either way, the blue light on the tower looks really snazzy — even if it isn’t for the Cowboys or Mavericks.

    Tags: ,