PHOENIX – When lighting designer Jason Charles was tasked to illuminate statues by famed sculptor Allan Houser at the Desert Botanical Gardens, he developed a list of “must haves”.
Houser, who died in 1994, is one of the best-known and celebrated American artists of the 20th century and is often referred to as the “father” of American Indian sculpture. Eighteen of his creations grace the 50-acre garden, which annually hosts a large exhibition during the winter months and draws about 300,000 visitors annually.
A 20-year industry veteran and owner of Latest Craze Productions, Charles set out to find fixtures that were tough enough to withstand six months of rugged conditions of the Sonoran Desert.
He selected 22 CHAUVET COLORado 1VW LED wash lights. The fixtures' IP66 rating allows them to withstand water from the garden's drip irrigation system and sprinkling, gusty and dusty winds, as well as extremely hot or freezing temperatures.
Another very important consideration, Charles said, “was the ability to adjust the warm and cool white LEDs to create the best color,” as Houser played off shadows and light to create fluid forms and intimate portrayals of life out of bronze, marble or stone.
The COLORado 1VW, fitted with 18 warm white and 18 cool white LEDs, allows custom color temperature. Color temperature mixing and custom program recall can be done without a DMX controller, another benefit for Charles. Timers set the lights to turn on at dusk and turn off four hours later.
Energy conservation was also high on Charles' list as he needed to be able to work with the electrical power limitations of the 70-year old botanical venue. Hence the choice of LED-fitted lights that draw much less power than their conventional lighting equivalents.
This was a first, Charles said. “They never used LED lights before because they didn't understand them,” he said. “And, I really wanted the garden to go green.”
Photo credit: Adam Rodriguez, Adam's Photography