—By: Lighting Design + Application – Article for LD+A—
Chicago, Past, Present, and Future
There is always something happening at Navy Pier, Chicago’s lakefront playground. Offering more than 50 acres of parks, promenades, gardens, shops, restaurants, and attractions, the Pier is host to an unparalleled array of events.
The Piers newest attraction is the Time Escape—a multi-sensory, multi-event presentation that whisks visitors from 85 million BC to the year 2333, all in Chicago. The fly-through encompasses four distinct eras: the prehistoric, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the 1933 World’s Fair, and 24th century Chicago.
For designers Martin Peck and Andrew Wegwert of Creative Lighting Design & Engineering, the goal was a futuristic, electric style—all within a tight budget of $60,000. At the entry, ultra-modern, color-accented fixtures define this style. Transporter power comes from custom energy generators and conduits with flowing crackle plasma developed by the designers.
Dynamic energy is created from dimming dichroic-filtered track fixtures and moving projections from robotic fixtures, flowing to give motion to a three-dimensional mural and excitement to the entrance. Plasma conduits flow past the ticket queue, where fixtures equipped with flicker strobes and pulsing intensity suggest the transporters departure.
Inside the transporter, panels glowing from dimmable fluorescent strips, colored recessed and monorail spotlights, and programmable fiber-optics reinforce the futuristic motif. An LED color-changer portrays the “flux capacitor.” Strobes flicker as passengers witness dinosaurs, the Chicago Fire, and 1933 Expo.
In a spectacular accident, a train strikes the transporter, and passengers rush to escape pods amidst highly animated emergency lighting. Revolving emergency lighting, strobes, and fixtures from above and below add intensity as passengers enter the pods.
Clever installation, detailing and programming of inexpensive fixtures successfully portray a futuristic look, making this a popular educational attraction.