SKY CITY CASINO ADELAIDE MARBLE HALL 

A LIGHTING RE-INVIGORATION BY RICK MORRISON

Helvetica Light is an easy to read font, with tall and narrow letters, that works well on almost every site.

IIn July 2019 Rick was engaged to reinvigorate the lighting in the Marble Hall in Adelaide.

 

The Sky City organisation, as operators of the Casino, were planning an interior refurbishment, and the iconic Marble Hall was the obvious starting point. 

Located in the historic 19th century Adelaide Railway Station building, Marble Hall is the first gaming space you encounter upon entry to the Casino.

A feature of the Marble Hall is the enormous 12-metre diameter Cupola, supported by

8-metre Corinthian columns. Four adjoining gaming halls radiate from the central domed room.

Rick’s Design Philosophy

Rick utilised his 35 years of broad industry experience:  a Master’s Degree in lighting and a background that ranges from commercial lighting sales to his own design and manufacture of custom glass and metal luminaires and now his pure consultancy firm.

For the Marble Hall Rick’s design philosophy was:

  • To work within the architectural constraints to deliver a design that is impressive, dynamic, colourful but also a sympathetic treatment of the original architectural forms

  • Carefully conceived of and painstakingly crafted lighting celebrating and modernising the old interior without disguising its soul or history

  • Add light to as many unlit surfaces as possible, especially the verticals, with grazing and washing techniques using RGBA LED equipment

    • To wash the cupola dome in coloured light but also highlight the bones of its form

    • To highlight the multiple wall dentils (an art deco feature)

    • Light the column sides & capitals

    • Light the column bulkheads

    • Light the cupola upper gallery walls

    • Light the window sill niches

    • Renovate the four feature pendants and improve the lighting

    • Light the first floor gallery balustrades

    • Light the feature wall decals

The glass baubles of the feature chandelier

Design Execution

3D modelling allowed Rick to demonstrate concepts, meet CCTV camera requirements, fine tune luminaire beam spread selections, eliminate glare, demonstrate the ambient flow of light.

Making the vertical surfaces provide the light into a space is one of Ricks favourite techniques. Grazing, washing, and bouncing light from surfaces increases the ambient light, eliminates gloom, and brings a large voluminous interior into the human scale. Importantly, the use of RGBA LED with DMX control allows the introduction of a myriad of lighting personalities into the space. The example lighting scenes (pictured) are – Classic, Party Time, and Chinese New Year.

When Rick first saw the Chandelier Bar, he knew exactly what to do. Drawing on his many years working as a glass artist in the 1990s, he knew instinctively that changing the chandelier baubles (clear blown glass) by getting them lightly sand blasted to a frosted appearance would introduce more texture and dimensions to the space. Light passes through clear glass and some reflections happen, however, light interacts substantially more with frosted glass and presents the lit objects in a whole new way.

Rick recommended this to the design team and sourced a local Adelaide based firm to produce the work. All 2,050 hand blown glass baubles were refinished and hung in position by Anthony Gee of Adelaide Glass Painters.

Improving the lighting in the four rectangular linear profile pendant uplighters was not a simple task. Equipped with fluorescent battens and halogen spotlighting, the existing effect was both glary and gloomy.  To simply drop in the chosen linear LED profile (20mm square) with several times the magnitude of light upwards entailed a bespoke placement on site. Too low down and they would simply light a hot spot onto the ceiling above and too high up in the profile they would be seen and cause glare. The placement and tilting of this profile were undertaken painstakingly by increments of movement to match the design intent. The result is outstanding.

Modernising all the existing halogen table spots was a considered choice, with review of many products undertaken to test the optics, understand the glare (as LED fittings can be very glary) and to ensure the CCTV cameras were enabled by the resulting lighting. Lighting the Art Deco decals (image below) on the gaming room walls followed the same  choice methodology, as the light fitting had to mount on the same track as the spots, while the wall decals were higher than the track in elevation. The light had to aim above the horizontal from its position on the track. Lighting the columns, capitals and bulkheads was also a measure of bespoke collaboration. Utilising RGBA narrow projectors, Ricks careful modelling needed to be executed on site in a painstaking way. This same luminaire was mounted at the top of the capitals in pairs to light sideways across the upper bulkhead faces, bring more revelation of form and improving the structural modelling and level of ambient light. Another Platek beam spread, narrow horizontal, was used behind the columns to wash light in a narrow blade of light into the undersides of the entry bulkheads to each gaming room.

Illuminating another key feature of the interior, the level one balustrade (image above) was achieved with the difficult placement of Neon Products Australia (NPA) ‘Quad profile RGBA’ LED linear fittings. These were mounted in front of the balustrades on the very edge of the bulkhead, to wash the side visible to the patrons in light and at once model the baluster legs.

Lighting under the cupola, on the level two gallery was achieved using the same solution. The level two gallery walls sit on each side of a 2 metre wide floor. The NPA ‘Quad profile RGBA’ LED linear fittings were placed 1.2 metres out from the gallery walls and aimed at the cornice line. This has resulted in a uniform washing of the gallery walls, and a nice uniform cut off on the cupola support rim.

The cupola dome lighting was achieved with the use of eight Lumascape Quadralux RGBA luminaires, with narrow horizontal beam spreads. The design intent was expressed as a grazing wash light across the interior of the dome, highlighting the classical ribbed form of the dome interior.

 “It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good”, is the old saying.

Amid the constraints of the global pandemic, Rick found himself trapped at home in Queensland, unable to attend to site for commissioning, aiming etc.

But when the pandemic swept into town, the Casino found itself empty of people, and the installers had open access to carry out their work, unhindered by time constraints or the difficulties of working in an occupied space.

Collaboration between the project manager, Michael Silvy, and his team of installers was via SMS, text, and phone hook ups. This is how the very subtle fixture placements and aiming was carried out for all the lighting.

The lighting control system is Creative Lighting’s Spektra x DMX system.

The finished installation is jaw dropping. But more than that, it is also proof of the power of collaboration. The project is testimony to the benefits of collaboration and integration culminating, as they have, in a successful artistic lighting project.

Details

Lighting Design: Rick Morrison, Creative & Technical Director, Light in Design 2 (QLD)

Architects: - WEBB +, Melbourne

Electrical Engineers: - TMK Adelaide p/l

Sky City Project Manager: - Michael Silvy

Installing Electricians: - Deadshort Electrical p/l

Photography by: - Michael Silvy, Architect, Sky City Project Manager

 

Luminaires and control: -

  • Control System - Control Freak Spektra X DMX, Control Freak DMX Splitter Repeater, Mikrotik Wi-Fi. Android Spektra Application

  • Cupola - Lumascape Quadralux Q2 RGBA

  • Rectangular linear profile pendant – uplighting – Neon Products Australia (NPA) Linear 3K HO LED with Control Freak SLAMMO Drivers

  • Rectangular linear profile pendant – table spots – Tuba LED from Richard Ralph of Inlite

  • Rectangular linear profile pendant – wall decal lighting - Bosco Lighting BLTL-WE100-15

  • Columns, capitals, bulkheads, inter room bulkheads - Inlite Platek RGBA 16W with Eldo LED driver from Richard Ralph of Inlite

  • L1/L2/ Interior windowsills - NPA RGBA LED with SLAMMO Drivers

  • L1 balustrade highlighting - NPA RGBA LED with SLAMMO Drivers

  • Chandelier – re-used Colour Kinetics fittings from the old cupola lighting

Existing wall and newel lighting – lamps replaced with compact LED versions

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