Drama by Design lights up Portsmouth Guildhall with GDS ArcSystem
Paul Milligan, February 27, 2013
Drama by Design has been engaged by Portsmouth City Council to design and specify a new house lighting system for the Guildhall, which was supplied by Hawthorn Theatrical and installed by local contractor ICE Electrical. The Guildhall in Portsmouth plays host to everything from orchestral concerts, comedy, rock concerts, dance and exhibitions. In addition it houses the city’s Council chamber, as well as being home to numerous local groups and services.
The original Guildhall was completed in 1890 having been designed by Leeds architect William Hill but during the Second World War it was extensively damaged and had to be rebuilt. Portsmouth Guildhall was re-opened in 1959 by HM the Queen.
The management of the venue wished to expand its range of use, particularly during the day, to include conferencing and similar events.
Previous complaints that the existing house lighting was simply not bright enough had meant bringing in outside equipment and so the decision was made to install a new system.
Drama by Design recommended that if installing a new system it would be sensible to move to a more efficient and sustainable system. After reviewing a number of options, GDS ArcSystem was selected, a range of LED auditorium lighting fixtures, dimmable from 0-100 per cent using the wireless ARC Mesh protocol.
As the down time available in the venue to install the system was limited, the ability to use the wireless operation to reduce the amount if wiring and therefore time required on site was a significant consideration. During certain events such as orchestral concerts, there is a requirement to leave the houselights on the audience at very low levels.
In one area of the hall, specifically underneath the balcony, the existing standard light fittings appealed aesthetically – visitors were keen on the ‘theatrical look’ and so GDS developed a bespoke fitting that retained as closely as possible the existing non-recessed appearance, whilst still providing high quality lighting.
In this, the largest installation of ArcSystem to date, 202 fixtures were installed, comprising 48 x Pro 4 Cell fixtures (2 of which are dual input emergency fixtures), 62 x Pro 2 Cell fixtures (10 of which are dual input emergency fixtures) and 92 x Decor 1 Cell fixtures (14 of which are dual input emergency fixtures). The system is controlled by 2 x TX1 Master Transmitters and 1 x 6-channel control desk via GDS control software.