Signature Lighting Design for Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Lighting designer Dav Bettenhausen of design firm Lankford Fendler + Associates redesigns the exterior lighting experience for one of the world’s most recognizable concert halls

Home to the Kansas City Ballet, Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Kansas City Symphony, The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is a cultural cornerstone delivering extraordinary and diverse performing arts experiences. Heralded as one of the World’s 15 Most Beautiful Concert Halls, the Kauffman Center first opened in 2011 and was designed by Moshe Safdie. Now wanting to update their exterior lighting design to better illuminate and accentuate the classic architecture, the Kauffman Center worked with Lankford Fendler + Associates who created a new lighting design using Anolis Lighting LED luminaires supplied by Premier Lighting and Controls.  

“The Kauffman Center is an iconic part of the community and a world-renowned Cultural Arts institution, so the design brief they brought to us was really quite simple,” began lighting designer Dav Bettenhausen, Lankford Fendler + Associates. “The ownership wanted to replace the old 175-watt T6 3000K ceramic metal halide fixtures with an LED color-changing solution that could match the existing color temperature and light distribution to keep the classic look of the original design. Architecturally speaking, the interplay of concrete and reflective metal building materials is something unique, so we needed to highlight those differences with an even and uniform lighting approach.”

In the search for the ideal fixtures to deploy in the exterior lighting design, the performance characteristics of the luminaires would be of vital importance. To ensure they could experience a true-to-form result for any luminaire brought into the project, onsite tests were performed lasting 4-6 hours per night over multiple nights.    

“Since LED luminaires have different optics and functionality, we knew it would be difficult to model the color saturation,” explained Bettenhausen. “To find the best fixtures, we put out design specs and allowed Manufacturer’s Reps to bring potential lighting solutions to the building for a series of onsite tests to see which performed the best.”

Upon receiving the design specs for the project, the team at Premier Lighting and Controls were immediately excited to take part. Confident they could provide a lighting solution which would not only meet but exceed their expectations, they worked with Anolis Lighting and decided upon a package of Divine 72 and ArcSource 96 Integral LED luminaires.

“Knowing we would need to use the existing placements and beam angles of the previous design, we started by speaking with Anolis to find the most advantageous solution,” admitted Gregg Garner, Premier Lighting and Controls. “Taking a closer look at their Divine Series, we liked the saturation of light and the optics, so it hit all the marks. During our tests, the fixtures were so powerful they could actually light a building about a half-mile away, but they still offered a tight beam angle to control the light spill. Their performance was stunning, and we were ecstatic to be selected for the installation.”

The latest fixture in the Anolis Lighting Divine range, the Divine 72, was developed to optimize the beam in a long-throw lighting design application. Featuring cutting-edge Zero Passive™ technology to eliminate light over-spill with precise optics, the native 6-degree beam angle delivers an impressive 6,573 lx at 10 meters, and the luminaire is IP67-rated for the rigors of extreme weather.

“Since we were replacing the outdated fixtures, we had power but no DMX and had to route DMX to all the fixture locations for the reliability of a hard-wired solution,” continued Bettenhausen. “The control system was then run off a PC-based interface with connected functionality to allow for remote changes of color and intensity, and all the fixtures were a 1-to-1 replacement in each location.”

The ArcSource™ line of LED luminaires offers a wide range of outdoor and inground lighting solutions using various beam angles and color variants for a broad range of applications. Each designed with a flush-mounted "Watch Glass" frontage that protects the units from the buildup of dirt and debris, the ArcSource™ line achieves an IP67 rating to ensure high performance even in the toughest environments.

“There is a certain amount of pride that comes with working on a lighting design like this, and it was an honor to be a part of the project,” concluded Bettenhausen. “Everyone was really excited about the new functionality of the design which brings the Kauffman Center into community conversations and dialogues associated with color-changing events as a signature part of the evolving cityscape.”