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Guiding attention through light at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Located in Little Rock Arkansas, Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the only hospital system in the state solely dedicated to children, giving them a unique ability to shape the landscape of pediatric care. As part of their dedication to the complete well-being of children, the hospital recently underwent a renovation of their atrium lobby to create a deeper visual experience through the addition of newly commissioned artwork. Needing an effective architectural lighting solution to now light the colorful and vibrant art, the hospital worked with Stageworks and manufacturer’s rep Curtis Stout Inc. and installed Gallery 50W LED luminaires from Altman Lighting.

“We’ve had the opportunity to work with Arkansas Children’s Hospital on a few installations and we were brought onto this project by Stageworks, who was working with Cromwell Architects and Engineers,” began Gene Gephardt, Curtis Stout Inc. “As part of the project, the hospital commissioned a popular artist to create colorful, childlike images of nature and they wanted to make sure they could showcase them in the best light. The artwork would be hanging in the main entrance to the hospital, and the fixtures needed to be as invisible as possible. When looking at which lights would be best for the design, the main attributes we needed were the ability to shutter and diffuse with a soft-edge, and the Altman Lighting Gallery fixtures were ideal to make this a very nice project.”

The Gallery Series is a family of architectural LED luminaires designed to serve as the most versatile solution available for museum, art gallery, hotel, restaurant and retail lighting. This scalable family offers 4000 lumens across a variety of color temperatures, and can be used to build a multitude of solutions through profile, beam wash, wall wash and flood options. With a 92+ CRI engine and dimming options that include local on-board dimming, Mains Dimming, DMX/RDM, 0-10VDC and DALI, the Gallery Series also offers a number of mounting options making it an ideal architectural lighting solution where aesthetic and performance expectations are high.

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Gephardt continued, “From the beginning, we knew which fixture we wanted to use, but we went ahead and did some industry comparisons to be sure. The final decision really came down to the crispness of the beam and the fact that the shutters on the Gallery line were more robust than the others. When John showed the architects what the lights could do, they loved them.”

As the design team now moved into the installation phase of the project, they would be using the Gallery luminaires to illuminate four newly commissioned pieces of art. With a throw distance of approximately 15-18 feet, the fixtures were mounted in a vertical stack between the first and second floors, inside the main atrium entrance of the hospital.

“To best light each piece of artwork, Stageworks installed six Gallery luminaires in each of the four corners of the space. They then used a custom plug-strip for power and a ShowBaby wireless DMX system for control,” explained Gephardt. “The design worked really well because the Gallery fixtures allow you quite a bit of flexibility and they are very close to the performance of a theatrical fixture. It’s a real user-friendly light, especially when it comes to lighting artwork, and since it’s an LED fixture you don’t have to worry about any heat or lamp replacement issues.”

With the installation now complete, it was time to showcase the new entrance environment for Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Wanting the space to be a soothing reflection of the artwork, the Gallery fixtures would have to handle the prime responsibility of guiding the visitors’ attention through light.

“Before the renovation, there were some mechanics to the lighting system that were very difficult to maintain and it was very bright,” concluded Gephardt. “Now, with the Gallery fixtures in place, your eyes are immediately drawn to this beautiful artwork and it’s a whole different feel when you walk in. It’s a pretty dramatic experience when you see the first painting, walk underneath it into the atrium space, and are then drawn to the next piece. As people see it, they actually stop for a moment to take them all in, and it’s interesting to watch how light can draw attention at such a dramatic level.”