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GDS Raises Curtain on ArcLamp Fade to Warm at Bristol Hippodrome
UK – The Bristol Hippodrome is one of Britain’s top provincial theatres, catering for the widest possible variety of tastes with its programme of musicals, ballet, opera, concerts, comedians and pantomime. A Grade II listed building designed by leading theatre architect Frank Matcham, the Hippodrome opened for business in 1912 with a variety bill which included the rare sight of diving horses, accommodated by a huge water at the front of the stage, containing 100,000 gallons of water. From its spectacular origins, the Hippodrome’s stunning Edwardian interior has witnessed Broadway and West End musicals, survived the aerial bombardments World War II and remains one of the finest examples of its kind in the UK. Last year, having reached the venerable age of 105 years old, Bristol Hippodrome, grand old dame that it is, was due a facelift, part of which was to replace its tungsten house light system with a modern, sustainable LED alternative.
Key to the entire project was the requirement to ensure that none of the theatre’s splendid Edwardian look and atmosphere was compromised during the upgrade. Whilst it doubtlessly comprised an out-dated and inefficient system, the existing tungsten illumination could not be faulted for the quality of its light, but on the energy consumption and maintenance side of the equation, it simply had to go. In short, the new system had to emulate as closely as possible the character of tungsten light, whilst at the same time saving energy and the daily, time-consuming routine of replacing blown lamps. ATG was aware of GDS’s reputation through having installed the Bristol company’s BluesSystem working lights at The Hippodrome back in 2005, declaring them to work “fantastically well”. A conversation began in respect of a new house light system and GDS introduced ATG to ArcLamp Fade To Warm, its latest cutting edge LED development. Integrator Push The Button (PTB) who already had wide experience of working with GDS, was engaged by ATG to install the system.
ArcLamp Fade To Warm (FTW) is the latest signpost on the GDS ArcSystem journey, marking another breakthrough in the application of LED lighting technology. During a two-year process GDS succeeded in achieving the perfect emulation of a tungsten lamp, not only in terms of colour rendering but also in its capacity to dim to an atmospheric warm ambience. Much technology has been placed into a lamp that can run for 55,000 hours (owing to its intelligent thermal management) whilst exactly matching the appearance of a 45W light bulb. At the Hippodrome, PTB retrofitted more than 200 ArcLamp Candle Clear FTW fixtures, largely utilising the building’s existing wiring. ArcSystem’s capacity for retrofit was essential, given that to rewire a listed building on such a scale would have involved prohibitive costs.
Managing director at GDS, Matt Lloyd was delighted with the reaction of all the stakeholders to the installation: “Perhaps the most significant thing to observe about the installation of ArcLamp Fade to Warm at The Hippodrome is that it hasn’t been noticed by the theatre’s patrons. Usually, any new addition to the landscape attracts some kind of reaction but the fact that visitors are oblivious to the change represents a complete success! Whilst ATG is firmly committed to introducing low-energy technology to its venues, it has been determined from the outset not to compromise the experience of patrons, nor affect in any way the objectives of producers and companies using the theatres. Fade to Warm wins on both counts and in terms of its capacity to reduce costs, is already having a significant impact on the day to day running of the Bristol Hippodrome.”
Brendan Gage of ATG worked closely with PTB on the upgrade and offered this view: “ArcLamp Fade to Warm, whilst bright for the audiences safety, reproduces the gentle enveloping fade of a traditional incandescent lamp. It maintains the Hippodrome’s beautiful ambience without compromise, perfectly meeting our requirements. Running costs have already dropped significantly. In the long term, the savings on lamp replacements as well as those on air-conditioning, will offset the cost of the installation and further assist our sustainability goals. We have also regained time that was spent changing lamps and reduced our exposure to some of the more inaccessible areas. We have been able to realise other projects and raised the quality of service we can offer to visiting companies and shows.”
The investment in ArcSystem technology at The Bristol Hippodrome will reduce energy consumption, carbon footprint and running costs across the board, bringing this grand old listed building into the 21st century without any compromise of its fundamental magic. In every way but its appearance, ArcLamp Fade to Warm has consigned tungsten to the past, where it may remain (alongside the diving horses) part of a bygone age.
24th January 2018
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