Architect Guy Simard is no newcomer to lighting design work: besides being responsible for engineering Quebec City’s master light plan, he started working on a new, dynamic lighting concept for the Grand Théâtre de Québec nearly 15 years ago.
“I had this lighting idea back in 2000! I thought my scheme would really highlight the building’s architecture. The problem was that I couldn’t do what I envisioned with metal halide lamps and traditional color changers. It would have been very expensive and technologically not feasible, with constant repairs in our -30 degree temperatures,” Simard said.
“Now, with improved LED technology, we could finally do it,” he said.
To bring his vision to life, Simard selected Lumenbeam Large Colour Changing and Lumenbeam Large luminaires in 3000K. Placed in tandem at the top of each vertical recess, the luminaires (one white and one colour changing) light down to street level, providing the option for both classic white light and more festive colour illumination.
“With the Lumenbeam luminaires, we were able to take my original concept even further than I imagined, as there are multiple variations in the colours we use, which gives the building a real sense of movement and vivacity,” Simard said, adding that the programmable colour scheme serves a secondary purpose.
“We wanted people to know, just by looking at the building, what was going on inside. So if it was lit in blue, for example, they would know it was the symphony orchestra that night; if it was red, a rock concert – we wanted to establish a pattern, which would tighten the bond between the theatre and the city,” he said.
To complement the color changing element, Simard positioned two 4’ Lumenfacade luminaires and one Lumenbeam Large in 3000K at the bottom of each concrete panel between the recesses. These are aimed back up towards the cornice, grazing the concrete and bringing out its character.
The result is a dynamic lighting design that has captured the public’s attention, and breathed new life into the theatre. Its popularity has even surprised the man who waited so long to see it realized.
“I keep hearing the term ‘magnificent,’ and honestly, I didn’t think people would like it so much,” Simard said.
“But I understand why – they’re impressed with the overall symbolic effect of the work. It reminds them of the large colored curtains typical of all the great theatres around the world.”