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  •   A.C. Lighting supply and install lighting at new NikeTown store in London

A.C. Lighting supply and install lighting at new NikeTown store in London

2nd August 1999

High Wycombe based A.C. Lighting Ltd. have supplied and installed the show entertainment lighting equipment at the brand new NikeTown retail store, which opened recently in London's Oxford Circus.

A.C. Lighting first became involved in the project in December 1997 when the lighting brief was first drawn up. Artists sketches showed the 'central core' within the store which would contain an interactive history of Nike's involvement in sport and was to be the centrepiece of the show. Ultimately this core would become a 3-storey, 360-degree multimedia projection screen, and every 20 minutes, the window shutters at the store would close automatically for the show, during which time the core of the building would literally come to life. Multiple screens would become an active canvas for inspirational images of London at play, and the star athletes of Nike.

But before this vision could be fully realised, a lot more work had to be done.

Further meetings with the Architects for NikeTown, Building Design Partnership, resulted in the final design and specification for the lighting being drawn up. The final installed system consists of 64 Clay Paky Stage Color 300 units, 48 of which have a chrome finish, 8 Clay Paky Stage Zoom 1200, 8 Clay Paky Stage Scans, 24 500 Watt Fresnels and 24 Strand Coda 1/500s with control equipment from Jands, Flying Pig Systems and dimmers from Pulsar.

One concern when designing and specifying a retail lighting scheme is the aspect of maintenance, and one particular point worthy of note are the Clay Paky Stage Color 300 units. These units use the Osram HMD 300 Watt lamp that has a rated life of 3,000 hours. Such a long lamp life was a major factor in the specification of this unit.

When it came to the DMX cabling of the installation, A.C. Lighting knew that they would be looking for a highly robust and highly specified cable. Owing to the complexity of the installation and the remoteness of some fixtures' positions within the store, the electrical contractors were not able to solder directly into the eighty six DMX junction boxes located around the building. This raised an issue, as the DMX cable would now have to be connected via screw terminal connections. This demand, along with other cable requirements for the installation, such as not being able to support a flame and not dripping molten rubber or PVC if subjected to a flame resulted in a search through many different cable specifications. Ultimately, Tourflex Datasafe 2 was specified as this cable fulfilled all of the installation requirements and proved to be more than robust enough when it came to the connections.

Lighting Designer Natasha Katz has previously designed the lighting for the NikeTown store in New York and so was well versed as to the image that the store wanted to create, when it came to the new store in London.

The installation of the lighting equipment by A.C. took place over a five week period beginning in February of this year. Whilst this was going on, Natasha began programming the show on a CAST Lighting WYSIWYG visualisation system from her office in New York. Working with Natasha was programmer Paul Sonnleitner, who built the WYSIWYG drawing enabling Natasha to work on an exact replica of the London store, even though the installation hadn't even been completed.

As information became available regarding the exact angle and orientation of each fixture, WYSIWYG data exchanges between London and New York took place to ensure that Natasha and Paul were kept totally up to date with information. In return Natasha sent disks with sections of completed programming to London, double checking that the shows were proceeding as she had envisaged. "We programmed the majority of the SMPTE timecode cues for the show using WYSIWYG in New York, and it was actually far easier than it would have been in real life", Natasha commented.

Nike personnel in London were already aware of WYSIWYG and some of its features, but seeing the system in action was enough to convince them to purchase a system for themselves to be kept on site, aiding the future updating of the show programming.

Once A.C. Lighting had completed the installation, and the system was commissioned, Natasha travelled to London to complete the show programming with UK based programmer Richard Knight.

Once fully programmed, all of the control equipment was locked away in the central control room. The shows are then run from a Flying Pig Systems Wholehog II Replay Unit that is triggered by a SMPTE timecode signal supplied by the Electrosonic show control system. Electrosonic also supplied the mass of video and audio equipment at NikeTown.

With the efforts of A.C. Lighting and all of the other parties involved, NikeTown London certainly continues the reputation of the Nike corporation in producing exciting and innovative retail environments.

Commenting on the completed show, Natasha Katz said "A.C. Lighting have been professional and thorough throughout the NikeTown installation, making my job as lighting designer as smooth as possible. I look forward to working with them in the future"