LED Lighting Systems


Fox Theatre: 2004 – Present

Atlanta, Georgia, USA


Photo Credits: David Grill

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LED lighting solutions from Philips Color Kinetics modernized Fox Theatre's operations while helping to preserve its character as a historical landmark.

ColorCast 14* LED lighting fixtures from Philips Color Kinetics, in daily use since 2004, enhance the Fox Theatre's famous blue sky ceiling.

The historic Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, is a premiere venue for live entertainment. The 4,678-seat theatre is booked for more than 300 performances each year, but the drama and spectacle begin the moment patrons walk through the theatre's ornate entryway. The Fabulous Fox was built in the 1920s to resemble the courtyard of a fantastic Arabian palace, complete with a trompe l'oeil ceiling that simulates a starry, twilit sky across through which clouds appear to slowly drift.

To create the sky effect, the theatre's vaulted ceiling was originally painted ultramarine blue in 1929. Ninety-six 11 W incandescent lamps set in the ceiling, a third of which flicker, create the impression of stars. The drifting clouds are produced by a special projector, originally a Brenograph magic lantern machine that could create various effects, including sunrise, sunset, fire, snow, and rain.

In 2004, the theatre installed ColorCast 14 LED lighting fixtures from Philips Color Kinetics to enhance the ceiling's blue sky effect. The fixtures, set to display blue light only, are installed on Unistrut aluminum track positioned along the edge of the theatre's turret (between the castle-like walls). In 2009, the theatre installed 50 additional ColorCast 14 fixtures to cover a larger area of the ceiling. Not only were the original fixtures still working after five years of daily use, the new fixtures blended seamlessly with the originals—a tribute to the superior color consistency and unprecedented lumen maintenance of Philips Color Kinetics LED lighting solutions.

Because the blue sky installation proved so successful, in 2009 the theatre also added ColorBlast 12 and ColorBlast 6 LED lighting fixtures to illuminate the organ chambers, pillars, and latticework at either side of the main stage. The ColorBlast fixtures are mounted on the floor of the organ chamber and on specially made brackets at the foot of each pillar. They throw pink and orange light against the latticework, and paint the gold columns with purple and purple-blue light. The ColorBlast fixtures are digitally controllable LED floodlights that natively produce millions of colors, so the theatre can easily switch to a special lighting scheme for Christmas each year, then switch back after the holiday season ends.

The theatre's 30 board members, whose mission is to keep operations up to date while preserving the theatre's character as a historical landmark, were initially reluctant to install colored light, as they thought it might be garish. They changed their minds, however, when they saw the results: The ColorBlast fixtures accentuate the theatre's breathtaking architectural details with saturated, high-quality colored light, to stunning effect.

Plans are currently under development to replace all of the Fox Theatre's lighting with energy-efficient LED fixtures. The goal of these renovations is to further enhance patrons' experience of the Fabulous Fox while creating a safe, pleasing environment through the appropriate application of LED-based general illumination and safety lighting in passageways, aisles, and exits. In addition to significant savings in maintenance and energy costs, the Fox Theatre could also potentially realize new merchandising and rental opportunities by turning the building into a showcase for innovative “green” lighting technology.

*Now Specified with ColorGraze Powercore



Project Credits

Lighting Design:
David Grill