Continued from September
2011 CTI Newsletter
Focus Lighting Dinosaur Exhibit
at the Natural
History Museum in Los Angeles
When Focus Lighting needed Custom Flocked
Top Hats for metal halide and LED architectural fixtures for a Dinosaur
Exhibit at the Natural History Museum in
they came to City Theatrical.
Here's how they did it ...
CTI: What were the general
parameters and design needs for the project?
Focus Lighting: The lighting
design for the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles was part of a three year
collaboration between Focus Lighting
and exhibit designer – Evidence Design. The lighting was designed to support
the museum’s mission of inspiring interest in the mysteries behind dinosaurs.
The museum aimed to create dynamic displays as opposed to simply providing
“static information.” Housing over 300 fossils and 20 complete mounts of
dinosaurs and sea creatures, Natural History Museum’s
new addition rivals many of the world’s leading dinosaur halls.
The lighting design sought to add a sense of clarity
and definition to complement the Dinosaur Hall and create a lasting impression
with the viewer. The intent is for each specimen to stand out on its own while
contributing to the overall composition of the exhibit.
One of the main challenges in lighting the Dinosaur
Hall was accentuating the fine details on the fossils – 85% of which are real,
not replicas or casts. For example, we had to determine the optimal height and
angle of the accents that wash across the fossilized footprints. In order to
achieve this we coordinated with the museum curator and conducted multiple
tests – at our office, at the museum exhibit fabrication shop, and at the
museum during construction.
Using the bone and fossil replicas created in our
office, we were able to not only test different lighting fixtures and angles,
but we were also able to test different options in terms of background colors.
We also examined the LED and metal halide fixtures for glare and distribution
and then developed custom flocked snoots for all the track heads to reduce
Since the project is located in Los
Angeles, we had to keep in mind
California’s strict energy code – Title 24. The
lighting design uses metal halide and LED for their low maintenance and low
wattage. Ceiling tracks that used metal halide were placed above the
platforms, and recessed underneath the platforms were a combination of metal
halide and LEDs. These required an extensive amount of testing because the
platforms were composed of multiple angular planes.
CTI: Why did you decide on using
Focus Lighting: We knew we
needed custom flocked snoots economically priced and fast. Who else would you
call besides City Theatrical?”
CTI: Did you do any preliminary
Focus Lighting: Yes. Focus
Lighting made mock ups. CTI made prototypes and the first article was also
of Los Angeles:
Jennifer Morgan – project manager
Dr. Jane Pisano – museum director
Evidence Design: Exhibit Designers
Lexington Design + Fabrication:
Graphics on Dino Hall: KBDA - Kim Baer
Focus Lighting: Lighting Designers
Paul Gregory – Principal Designer
Juan Pablo Lira – Lighting Designer
Stephanie Daigle – Assistant Lighting Designer
Hilary Manners – Assistant Lighting Designer
Kenny Schutz – Project Manager
Photographs by Juan Pablo Lira