LED Rail System Brings Murals to Life

April 1, 2016
Colorful murals at the Georgia Aquarium are getting noticed with bright track lighting. Precision aiming capability and high color rendering restore the expansive gallery.
Mahalo Lighting Solutions
CHALLENGE:The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, largest in the Western Hemisphere, attracts millions of visitors each year with exhibits showcasing ivory Beluga whales, bottlenose dolphins, 12-ft. manta rays and the only collection of giant whale sharks outside of Asia. Lighting was needed to illuminate the main entry hall with hand-painted murals of sea life overhead and the Aquanaut Discovery Zone, an interactive hallway for young visitors. INFLUENCE:The entry enthralls marine enthusiasts with its lifelike depictions of smiling Belugas, dolphins and turtles cavorting overhead in a swirling blue sea. The murals were painted by Salvio, an Italian muralist. SOLUTION:The murals were dimly lit for several years—until a Noral Rail System was designed by Tony Hodge of Mahalo Inc. in Marietta, Ga. Partnering with the aquarium’s facilities staff, Nora Lighting was recently selected to illuminate two visitor areas. Mahalo selected Nora Lighting’s Belgium fixtures with E-31 PAR 30 LED lamps. Each Belgium produces just nine watts at 3000K with 750 lumens and a 20-degree beam spread. The heads are fully adjustable with 345-degree rotation and 90-degree pivoting. “We specified PAR lamps because they deliver better directional lighting,” says Hodge. “The Belgium fixtures have a short neck and narrow beam spread, ideal for directing them toward the artwork. And their higher 90+ CRI rating displays optimal color rendition,” he reported. The second installation, the Aquanaut Discovery Zone, also presented unique site challenges. The long hallway has a series of interactive displays that leads visitors to several habitats, including Coldwater Quest, Ocean Voyager and Tropical Diver. Capped with a blue dome and support arches, the hall was dark and uninviting and called for a site-specific solution. Mahalo designed a Nora system with nearly 150 ft. of rail and 60 double-mounted fixtures—all off one junction box. The ceiling connectors were situated four feet apart with four-foot extenders. The heads were placed opposite each other and close to the connectors to keep the rail balanced. Hodge again specified Nora Belgium fixtures with PAR 30 lamps (750 lm) and stream-lined 20-degree beam angle. “The entire hallway run has 720 W of LED lamping and no forward heat, keeping the atmosphere very comfortable in this relatively tight space,” he said. “The Nora system was totally adaptable; the rails balanced perfectly and the lighting spot-on.” null

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