Illuminations Lighting Design, a Houston Texas based fine art lighting company was contacted by the City of Houston Convention and Entertainment Facilities Department through its contract with the Houston Arts Alliance and following the recommendation of the Richard Lippold Foundation, commissioned ILD to engineer and install a new high performance lighting system for the Gemini II sculpture in Jones Hall. Gemini II is the work of Milwaukee-born artist Richard Lippold and was commissioned by the Houston Endowment in 1966. It has been hanging in Downtown Houston’s Jones Hall for the past 42 years now.
Gemini II is a web-like sculpture that is made from polished aluminum and gold-plated wire. The wires stretch tight between the focal point and the axis of the piece. This creates a play of light across the reflective surface of the metal, and the transparent effect of the wires. Due to this integral interplay of reflectivity and perceived translucence, Gemini II appears to dissolve into the light.
Of course, many years ago, a sculpture lighting system had been installed beneath the sculpture in order to create this iridescent effect. The original system consisted of thirty 150PAR38 incandescent lamps. These types of light bulbs have been used for decades, and at present time, have become less desirable due to short lamp life and excessive energy consumption. Additionally, the light levels and warm color temperature produced by the incandescent light source was not quite right for a metal sculpture given the changes in lamp technology.
After running a series of tests on possible fixture combinations, the design team of Tom Kretzschmar and Lance Gandy pinpointed what eventually proved itself to be an ideal combination of power, energy efficiency, and low-maintenance. The ILD lighting designers selected theatrical instruments manufactured by Source Four and custom fabricated a mounting rack to support the lighting fixtures. The equipment specified by Kretzschmar and Gandy feature 150 watt ceramic metal halide lamps, custom tube shields with concentric ring louvers that minimize glare, and computer-engineered reflectors that capture and focus the light. The metal halide lamp technology and enhanced optical design allowed the designers to use six of these luminaires to do the job that previously required thirty incandescent fixtures!
This is only the beginning of advantages that the new art lighting fixture installation provides over the previous design. These lamps are six times more energy efficient than their predecessors, so when you factor in the reduced pieces of equipment, plus the lower consumption of power, you can already see where the savings on operating would begin to suddenly accrue the minutes the lights go on. Even better news comes with the fact that each lamp is rated at an average life of 12,000 hours—pushing replacements far into the future after reclaimed revenue from more efficient sourcing has accumulated over time.
The quality of sculpture lighting has also improved since our new art lighting system was installed. Because ceramic metal halide lights produce a very white, cool color, the illumination produced by our new configuration is an ideal match for the bright reflectivity of polished aluminum and gold-plated wiring. Configured with an astronomical clock that turns the lights on the sculpture at sundown and keeps them on until 1:00AM, the new sculpture lights cause the floating sculptural components to gleam like floating glass rods in the night, and the gold-plated wiring to erupt like a web of light from the surrounding walls.
Whomever the artist and wherever the artwork is located, you can trust the fine art lighting services at Illuminations Lighting Design to design and implement a fine art lighting theme that will showcase your collection in the best possible light on a budget you can afford. Let trained corporate art lighting consultants help you with your art collection.
Contact us toll free at 800-863-1184 or locally at 713-863-1133 to request a lighting design proposal.
Special thanks to Doug and Glen at Acme Brass & Aluminum for their design assistance on this project. Acme Brass & Aluminum is Houston’s finest boutique metal fabrication and welding shop that specializes in all types of metals including stainless steel, brass, copper and aluminum. Call 713-668-1960 today!