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Pittsburgh's Whim Gets Its Wham From Elation Lights And Global Truss

Pittsburgh's Whim Gets Its Wham From Elation Lights And Global Truss

whim_7.jpgPITTSBURGH, PA -- (For Immediate Release)– When club mogul Gabriel Fontana took over an older venue in Pittsburgh's riverfront Station Square district, his goal was to transform the 13,000 sq. ft. space into a Vegas-style superclub. The owner of the well-known S Bar on the city's South Side, Fontana wanted lighting to take center stage at in his newest nightspot, which he called Whim.

“His other club is a smaller, college-type lounge, but he wanted to go much bolder and flashier in this space and give it a really unique look,” said Michael Meacham of idesign (Miami Beach, FL), which was called on to do the lighting for Whim. “He wanted the lighting to be intense, in-your-face -- something you wouldn't see in traditional nightclub. When he first contacted us, he said, ‘Look, I know what you guys are capable of, but I don't want anything super-pretty or super-sexy, just a big, bold show.”

Although the space was completely stripped to the ground, Meacham had to design around one remaining structural obstacle – a large I-beam ceiling support that ran down the center of the dance floor. After drawing up numerous renderings, the lighting designer finally hit paydirt when he followed the wisdom of turning a lemon into lemonade. Or in this case . . . turning a pesky fly into a spider – a gigantic, spider-like circular truss structure that hangs above the dance floor, holding six Design Beam 300 DMX moving heads from Elation Professional.

The idea, said Meacham, was to use the truss structure, not to camouflage the I-beam, but to bring it out even more. “We actually used the I-beam as a design element, and made it look like both the beam and truss were tied together into the architecture of the building.”

To create the huge spider structure, which measures nearly 30' in diameter, circular truss from Elation's sister company Global Truss, was split in half. The two halves of the circle were then separated from the structural beam down the center so that “it looks like the line of the I-beam is built into the structure,” Meacham explained. “Then, using grapples and truss accessories, we brought the circle way out into the space and dropped it down, so it became this really bold design that filled up the space.” To give the spider its tentacles, six horizontal pieces of truss were attached to the circle. Truss toners were used to color and highlight the spider structure, adding an even more dramatic look.

The light show itself was given a big, bold appearance by dropping the six Elation Design Beam 300s down from the truss, so that they became a focal point of attention. A 300-watt hybrid spot-wash-beam projector, the Design Beam 300 features CMY color mixing and a full range of other professional features and effects, including 6 rotating/indexing gobos; 8 dichroic colors (including CTB and UV); a rotating/indexing 3-facet prism; Variable Frost; and a wireless DMX receiver.

Meacham said that one of the main reasons he chose the Design Beam 300 was that, with a very tight 7.5° beam angle and extreme light output of over 30,000 lumens, it produces “an intense fat beam look that cuts right through the space and fills it up with aerial effects. It gave us that unique look and bold statement that we wanted. If you look at it in a photo or video, it comes right out at you.”

Another advantage of the Design Beam 300, Meacham added, is that it's “not just a one trick pony. It's got the frost filter, which you can pull out and make it into a wash. And it's got full color-mixing and some split beams, too. When you shine those on a mirrorball, the reflections you get are just remarkable.”

Meacham says that he also bases his choice of lighting on the supplier's level of support and the dollar value offered by the products, and that these, too, have been big factors in his spec-ing of Elation gear. “We would be the happiest company if all the manufacturers we work with supported us the way (Elation director of sales) Eric Loader does,” Meacham commented. “Plus, with Elation gear you get twice the fixture at practically half the cost of some of the larger manufacturers.”

Whim's owner Gabriel Fontana was extremely happy with both the lighting and design, Meacham added. “He loved it. The club is packed – it's become one of the most successful nightclubs in Pittsburgh.”

For more information about Elation Professional products, call 866-245-6726 or visit

For more information about Global Truss products, call 323-415-6225, or visit

For more information about idesign, call 786-228-9700 or visit

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