Radio Flyer, the 100 year-old company that began producing red wagons a century ago, recently refreshed its Chicago headquarters. It’s hard to miss the giant “little” red wagon sitting outside the front entrance of Radio Flyer’s headquarters.
The building, previously a traditional red brick manufacturing warehouse on West Grand Avenue, now attracts visitors from around the world and brings them into the whimsical world of wagons, scooters, trikes, bikes, and ride-ons with a new, shiny modern façade. Carefully made dynamic lighting schemes brighten the entrance both day and night.
The new entrance looks nothing like its predecessor. Company officials decided the original brick façade didn’t communicate the company’s energetic and free-spirited work environment. They felt it was too industrial, and it didn’t sparkle with Radio Flyer’s energetic and whimsical spirit.
The company contracted JR Lighting Design of Tinley Park, Illinois. The lighting design firm joined Gensler Architects, general contractor Leopardo Construction and electrical contractor Grand Kahn Electric to begin work on a new headquarters building in July 2016.
The firm’s president Jason Reberski and systems integration manager Justin Litterio wanted to dynamically light the 167’ wide by 30’ foot tall façade wall. With the new lighting, the wall with a tube-steel-frame and channel-glass became a lively and colorful entrance into the company’s welcome area.
The lighting requirements
Radio Flyer officials wanted the lighting at the entrance to be able to shine both during normal operating hours and into the night, for the better part of 24 hours.
JR Lighting worked with Los Angeles-based Acclaim Lighting to specify products for the job. Based on the client’s idea, the lighting designers decided to add programmable and colorful LED lighting to backlight the glass.
With Chicago’s harsh environmental conditions during the winter and summer months, all lighting instruments needed an ingress-protection rating of at least IP65. The fixtures also had to be capable of operating in a long-duty-cycle application, while creating enough light to illuminate frosted glass during daylight hours. The system also had to be self-sustaining and self-programmable. Therefore, little staff interaction would be required to operate and maintain the lighting effects.
The system covers one large surface, so it needed to be illuminated evenly and show no signs of color variation.
JR Lighting Design selected Acclaim Lighting’s workhorse Dyna Drum HO and Dyna Flood QA fixtures for the project because of their rich colors, high lumen output, and high IP rating.
“Painting” the HQ red and white
JR Lighting design installed the Dyna Drum HO custom RBG+R LED flood fixtures with white-paint housing to serve as high-output, outdoor-rated, LED flood fixtures.
Acclaim collaborated with JR Lighting Design to custom populate the Dyna Drum HO color fixtures with a double set of red LEDs. The double set of red LEDs ensures the building facades lighting offers maximum intensity in the Radio Flyer signature color, when desired.
The Dynadrum HO comes in RGBW, RGBA models as well as white color temperatures of 2700K, 3000K, 3500K, 4000K, 5500K and Deep White of 2400K to 5500K. The Dynodrum HO features a Beam Angle 6º (standard, and offers 20º, 40º, 60º spread lens options. The 5500K, 6º version provides up to 10,103 lumens. And the 6º, RGBW version offers 7378 lumens.
“The most important part was that the batch of installed fixtures color match as much as possible because the façade system as a whole was one large surface that needed to be illuminated evenly and show no signs of color variation,” Reberski said. “Acclaim’s ability to ensure a near-perfect color match across fixtures as a key component in selecting this product.”
System features built-in receiver for Aria Wireless DMX transceiver
These fixtures provide an adjustable yoke, an on-board digital display, a 100-277VAC internal power supply, and they also have a built-in receiver for Acclaim’s new Aria wireless DMX transceiver. This compact, local, outdoor-rated wireless DMX transceiver acts as both a sending and receiving point. The Aria transceiver lets Users select up to 15 channels on the 2.4GHZ band. An internal, wireless radio offers both automatic networking and signal routing optimization. This wireless radio ensures the best possible DMX data reception.
The ARIA system includes a 5 dB, omni-directional antenna to provide transmission up to 2,600-foot line of sight and 300 foot between obstructions and walls. This installation represented the ARIA Wireless DMX technology’s first commercial use.
“It’s performing flawlessly,” Litterio said of the Aria system.
Then, to showcase the giant, iconic wagon, the lighting designers deployed all-white Dyna Flood QA fixtures. Acclaim’s high power Dyna Flood QA fixtures feature an auto-switching, multi-voltage power supply and offer an on-board, touch-sensitive menu. In addition to providing the ideal solution for dynamically illuminating monuments such as the headquarters’ gigantic Radio Flyer, Dyna Flood QA fixtures also work well with landscape lighting, facades, and structures.
“The output is tremendous,” Reberski noted.
The entire installation also included Acclaim’s RDS, 6-way DMX + RDM splitter and optimizer. The unit uses one RDM/DMX input and six outputs, providing flexible configuration of the RDM/DMX signal. Each port is isolated electrically to secure a maximum total run of 3,900 foot for each signal line.
JR Lighting Design also specified the Interactive Technologies CueServer 2 DIN, a unique, Ethernet-based lighting-control solution. The Cue Server 2 seamlessly blends standalone architectural and show-control functions for customized playback.
Striking color display
Before beginning the project, JR Lighting Design had tested numerous lighting systems. Acclaim stood out in all tests.
“Acclaim literally outshone all of its competitors,” Litterio said. “The focus we received from Acclaim and its product development and management teams sealed the deal for us because we not only were able to provide superb product, but we also were able to provide the support behind it.”