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GDS ArcSystem Cures Problems at Ancient Hospital Music Centre
Belgium – De Bijloke is a site in the Belgian city of Ghent. As far back as the 13th century, a hospital was founded there, after which an Abbey was raised, before further buildings were added across the centuries. The site now plays host to a number of cultural institutions including the Ghent City Museum, De Bijloke Ghent Music Centre, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the Ghent Conservatory College. Now a protected site with monument status applied to many of its elements, De Bijloke is a vibrant cultural centre, whose historic buildings are still in daily use. The Music Centre at De Bijloke is located at the ancient hospital building, which has been carefully restored. Some modern facilities have been added in the form of galleries, rehearsal rooms, offices and a lobby but the main concert hall lies within the original 700 year old construction and seats 960 audience members, primarily but not exclusively, for classical concerts and recitals.
The management at De Bijloke wished to significantly improve upon the lighting provision in the Music Centre. In the past, the stage for classical concerts had been lit by way of 1kW and 2kW spotlights to meet the demand for the musicians to be able to see their scores clearly. Every concert was very labour-intensive and consumed large amounts of energy. A permanent solution was sought that would provide excellent concert lighting, be discreet enough to fit in within the spectacular surroundings without compromise and reduce energy consumption. The technical team at the venue looked at a number of possibilities before settling on GDS ArcSystem. GDS’s Belgian distributor, FACE, supplied a Dialux simulation which convinced De Bijloke that ArcSystem would be a perfect fit.
De Bijloke AV supplier and FACE customer, City Sounds Rent, delivered 20 ArcSystem Pro Four-Cell Square 2700K and five ArcSystem Pro Two-Cell 2700K fixtures. The Four-Cell fixtures are arranged in five rows of four above the stage and the Two-Cell for counter-light at the back, providing a warm even coverage that enhances the aesthetic of the mediaeval surroundings as much as it enables visiting musicians to read their scores without the need for hiring in costly, energy consuming spotlights. The system is wirelessly controlled by means of GDS's ArcMesh TX1 Transmitter and when ArcSystem's perfect dimming is taken into account, it easy to see why it offers an exceptional lighting solution within an orchestra canopy.
GDS managing director, Matthew Lloyd takes up the theme: "The installation at De Bijloke is a good illustration of ArcSystem's versatility and how it can satisfy a full range of potentially conflicting requirements without compromise. As an orchestra canopy, it delivers excellent light for the musicians, whilst at the same time creating a beautiful warm ambience for the audience. The cold running of the system means that the on stage temperature remains constant, ensuring that performers are comfortable throughout. In a heritage setting such as this magnificent medieval hall, it must also be discreet and have as little physical impact as possible on the fabric of the interior. ArcSystem achieves all of this with silent, perfect dimming and energy savings that will very quickly recoup De Bijloke's investment."
Natan Rosseel, technical director at De Bijloke was upbeat about the new system: Our system was outdated and in desperate need of improvement. We were struggling to achieve enough lumens for orchestras and since we stage a variety of other genres, including jazz, pop and music theatre, it meant a full changeover for every different occasion. Our requirement was for a bright, warm top light for orchestral concerts, something that could remain in a fixed position and be used straight away at any time. Ideally, we wanted something aesthetically pleasing, compact, flicker-free, noise-free and with excellent dimming. In April this year our search took us to Prolight+Sound in Frankfurt where FACE's Koen Ceulemans proposed that we take a look at the GDS ArcSystem. Without doubt, ArcSystem has met every one of our criteria and has proved itself to be the best choice we could have made. Further benefits include the fact that the system can be operated from our light-desk as well as by a simple wall button. A direct advantage of this is that Symphony orchestras are now welcome to rehearse on our stage from early in the morning, with a minimum of technical support needed and the minimum of energy consumption. There is, however one issue. Our lighting designer, Pieter Kinoli likes them so much, I can’t stop him from rigging them in other positions than initially planned but I guess that as long as he puts them back where they belong in order to get the smooth top-light the next day, I can only admire his creativity!"
ArcSystem is an exceptional orchestra canopy lighting solution. Another recent example of its use in this context was at the highly prestigious Pierre Boulez Saal concert hall, within the Barenboim-Said Akademie Berlin, where GDS and its German distributor (and integrator), ASC, designed a unique bespoke system. From Calousete Gulbenkian in Lisbon to Opera bastille in Paris and from Stravinsky Hall in Montreux to the Royal Albert Hall, ArcSystem continues to make its mark, delivering a beautiful aesthetic, keeping the finest musicians in the world happy and substantially reducing energy costs into the bargain.
20th December 2017
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