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Historic Brooklyn Bank Building Fetes Divas

Historic Brooklyn Bank Building Fetes Divas

1hanson10.jpgBROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Women vocalists considered to be the cream of the crop by the VH1 cable television network inaugurated the newest major event venue outside of Manhattan in late September.

The women, including Miley Cirus, Sheryl Crow, Jennifer Hudson, Melissa Etheridge and others along with host Paula Abdul, performed a three-hour live concert at the nearby Brooklyn Academy of Music. Then they and their entourages attended an after party at the neo-Romanesque styled Williamsburgh Savings Bank, a Brooklyn landmark since its completion in 1929.

Standing at 512 feet and renamed One Hanson Place, the structure is the tallest building in Brooklyn and second tallest on Long Island. The tower is fitted with a four-sided clock, the largest in the world until 1962, and is capped by a gilded copper dome. The building was named a historic landmark in 1977.

The upper floors have recently been converted from offices to high-end condos, some of which encompass an entire floor. Only the former bank lobby remains open to the public and is used for receptions and private parties.

Lighting the marble lobby with its 40-foot tall windows and 63-foot vaulted ceiling fitted with elaborate mosaics brought several challenges to Lighting Designer Richard Tatum of L & M Sound and Light, the venue's exclusive lighting firm.

New York City's Landmark Commission oversees historic landmarks and Tatum said the commission has strict guidelines for work that is done. “You can't damage, change or alter architectural landmarks and we had to take that into account as we designed the lighting system,” Tatum said.

Then, there was the issue of the lights themselves. Tatum, who started with L & M on Sept. 1, said company owner Lou Mannarino has a philosophical commitment to utilize energy-efficient technologies whenever possible.

Tatum was unfamiliar with CHAUVET LED lights but decided to incorporate 16 CHAUVET COLORado 1 and 24 COLORdash Battens along with traditional lighting fixtures.

He used the COLORdash Battens to uplight the enormous windows and the COLORado 1 fixtures to uplight the architectural columns.

Rich, warm, feminine colors added drama. “The venue itself is spectacular,” Tatum said. “When it comes to architectural places such as One Hanson in particular, it's all about the architecture. If you uplight and highlight the architecture you are lighting the space.”

As for the LED lighting, Tatum was impressed. “I'm so impressed with the quality of the fixture itself and, more importantly, the extraordinary quality of the light they emit for creating beautifully designed environments,” he said. The lights match the corporate philosophy because LEDs last longer than their incandescent and halogen counterparts, helping to reduce waste and the frequency of replacement. Further, unlike fluorescent sources, they do not contain hazardous mercury.

The Diva's after party was a huge success, Tatum said, adding that the following week the annual VH1 Hip Hop Awards also had its after party at the One Hanson Place. “People really paid attention to the opening of this major venue,” he said.

The Diva's party was also a fund raiser for the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. The foundation uses donations to purchase new musical instruments to restore school music education programs that have been cut due to budget reductions or to save programs at risk of elimination due to lack of instruments.

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