Gambling that art would enhance the façade of Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA, the owner (a knowledgeable collector) asked artist Caryl Levy to design Sonic Wall, an abstraction of sound waves rendered as four separate bas-relief panels in fiberglass behind a continuous glass front. Jon Langrell of John Levy Lighting Productions in Los Angeles lit this iconic installation, using Philips Color Kinetics ColorBlaze LED fixtures placed in troughs next to fiberglass ribbons to create waves of color-changing light that dance along the wall.

Two 30'-high panels containing the façade mural have a combined length of 290', with two additional 18'x36' vertical panels flanking the entrance to the complex. A full-size mock-up of a 10'x28' section of the artwork was erected in Los Angeles to verify the lighting effects and secure client approval. “Much consideration was given to the various viewing locations visible from one-half mile for approaching drivers and hotels but also from 10' away for pedestrians, so it was important to create an experience that could be appreciated from these two extremes,” says Langrell. “The resultant imagery can be enjoyed from a distance and, at the same time, does not lose its essential aesthetics from close up.”

Control is via a Crestron TOPS-4000L Touch Panel, a Crestron Pro 2 Professional Control Processor, and an ETC Unison Mosaic Show Controller X, with four universes of DMX, an ETC SR24 dimmer rack, and four Doug Fleenor 1211-5 DMX repeaters, along with two Netgear 24-port Ethernet switches 10/100/1000 and a Netgear Wi-Fi receiver.

The ColorBlaze units (four 4-LED and 100 6-LED versions) are installed at the top and bottom of the wall with DMX addresses every 6" to allow maximum creativity and flexibility in the programming and to emphasize the textural quality of the artwork and create visually stunning tableaux that change continuously day and night. “Over 700 creative effects and color chases were choreographed to the original score created by the artist,” notes Langrell. These effects are used on a single wall or to sweep the whole façade, creating a continuously changing look.

John Levy and Langrell agree that the decision to use LEDs was based upon their ability to give the artist and designers a virtually unlimited color palette and programming capabilities, essential requirements for the complex music score to be interpreted with maximum effect.