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ADB lights new Belgian dual theatre complex

(PresseBox) (Zaventem, Belgium, ) ADB Lighting systems are at the heart of two highly flexible theatres within C-Mine, a remarkable new €300m cultural development on the site of an abandoned coalmine, in Genk, Belgium.

ADB supplied a total of 275 luminaires and 564 ways of EURORACK dimming to the project. A key aspect of the lighting installation design was the near-silent running of the EURORACK 60 dimmer. This feature enabled the design team to wall-mount the dimmers just a few metres from the main lighting bridge, thus significantly reducing the typical cable runs between dimmers and lighting fixtures and, as a result, the cost. The extra budget was then deployed to specify more dimmers, thereby greatly increasing the lighting flexibility of both theatres. "This aspect of the EURORACK dimmers has brought a big benefit to us," commented C-Mine technical director Winand Van Lil.

After the mine closed in the 1980s, its huge halls and winding towers lay derelict until 2005, when the City of Genk's Cultural Centre decided to take on the site and renovate it for its own use. The Victorian-era buildings now house two theatres and an art gallery, and other dramatic spaces include the two-storey-high lift control room, regularly hired out for film locations, weddings and performing arts shows. 22,000 people visited in the month following the opening ceremony, lit by renowned lighting designer Luc Peumans, whose company, Painting With Light, will occupy one of the other C-Mine buildings.

Van Lil says: "The Cultural Centre used to work in three different small venues in Genk, none of which was ideal. We wanted a single location where we could do pretty much whatever we wanted, but it had to have charisma and a story of its own. We tried to keep the spaces in their original state as far as possible, and with architects 51N4E, headed by Peter Swinnen, and theatre consultant Marc Lambert at TTAS, we built two venues. There's one large and one small space - and both combine great architecture and state-of-the-art equipment."

The small multipurpose theatre has a capacity of 206 seated or 800 standing, and the only fixed items are the technical bridges. The larger space seats 487 and has a 22-metre-wide stage arch. The lighting specifications for both spaces are very similar. Says Van Lil: "The technical philosophy for both theatres is that we don't want to have any problems - we simply need the best and most reliable equipment. We chose well-known international brands, which provide first-class service, so we know that if there is a problem, it will be fixed in a few hours.

"For these reasons it's been really good to work with ADB, for the dimmers, luminaires and the Niethammer, a spotlight that has proven its capabilities, too. We know ADB's equipment and we've always had a very good relationship with the company, so we didn't have to think long about which luminaries or which dimmers we would prefer to use. We knew the products, we knew the people, we knew what we wanted and it all fitted together. That's why we wanted to use ADB products, and will do in future."

The overall lighting fixture list comprises 39 Niethammer HPZ 215D spotlights, 25 WARP 12-30° spot profile zooms, 16 WARP 22-50° spot profile zooms, 45 ACP1001 cyclorama units, 16 Europe F101 1kW profiles, 10 Europe F201 2kw profiles, 40 C203 2kW double convex PCs, 60 C101 1kW prism convex PCs, four SH50 5kW fresnels and 20 PAR 64s.

The dimming complement is 23 ERACK60/243 (24 x 3kW) and an ERACK60/125 (12 X 5kW). The large stage uses 324 ways of 3kW dimming, while the small stage has 240 ways of dimming.

Different productions have different requirements, so every lighting fixture is movable. And behind the black wall drapes are tall glass windows, allowing both theatres to be opened to daylight - or moonlight. Says Van Lil: "It's very nice for us to work like this because otherwise we're in a black box all the time. This way we can keep in contact with the outside. And people who come to work here really enjoy this feature, too."