Lighting Installations Brighten Montreal’s Entertainment District

The “Quartier des spectacles” entertainment district of downtown Montreal just got a little brighter, thanks to Photonic Dreams and lighting designer Axel Morgenthaler. Morgenthaler created a unique LED-effects installation, casting a glow on the sidewalks in front of five participating theatres. The goal was to create an easily distinguishable visual branding campaign aimed at the area’s pedestrian traffic. In addition, the design is also meant to showcase the technological innovation going on right now in Montreal.

The custom LED fixture uses only 15W of power, keeping in tune with energy conservation concerns and sustainable development initiatives. Its modern design highlights the creative spirit of the city and the red effects are a reflection of the outgoing and fun-loving nature that Montrealers are known for the world over. The project was made possible by a generous grant from the City of Montreal and the LED fixtures were manufactured by local company LEIG Lighting.

Congruently, Photonic Dreams was mandated to illuminate the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, one of the most highly respected theatre institutions in Canada, located in the heart of downtown Montreal. With funding provided by the “Quartier des spectacles Partnership” and the City of Montreal. Morgenthaler created a multitude of temporary and permanent architectural lighting elements for the building.

One of the highlights is the permanent dynamic illumination of the beautiful old entrance facade on Saint Urbain Street that has been invisible to most since the renovation and enlargement of the theatre brought the main entrance to Saint Catherine Street. With this computer controlled LED lighting installation on the entire historic brick wall, the spirit of the old theatre is resurrected. Visitors can enjoy a colorful four-minute lightshow around the theme of a classical red theatre curtain playfully interacting with the texture of the bricks and the historic wall’s original architectural features. The programming can also be modified to correspond with the theatre’s individual events.

Morgenthaler also unveiled a temporary illuminated electronic display incorporated into the second-story windows of the Sainte-Catherine Street facade of the theatre. A major new addition to Montreal's cultural signage, this electronic banner made of 1,050 LEDs is entirely programmable. It displays text, graphics, and low-resolution videos to promote the theatre and the “Quartier des spectacles” interspersed with other imagery created by the designer. The dynamic and colorful contents bring a new dimension to communicating cultural information in the public domain. The installation is controlled by a dedicated computer, and connected by a wireless network that can change the color and intensity of each individual lighting element.

The installation lights up every day after 8:30pm and will remain on display until August 31.

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