Fox Theatre: 2004-present

    Atlanta, Georgia, USA

    Photo Credits: David Grill

    Breathtaking lighting transforms a landmark theatre

    ColorCast 14* LED luminaires from 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 luminaires (now specified with ColorGraze IntelliHue Powercore) to enhance the ceiling's blue sky effect. The luminaires, set to display blue light only, are installed on Unistrut aluminium track positioned along the edge of the theatre's turret (between the castle-like walls). In 2009, the theatre installed 50 additional ColorCast 14 luminaires to cover a larger area of the ceiling. Not only were the original fixtures still working after five years of daily use, the new luminaires blended seamlessly with the originals’ a tribute to the superior color consistency and unprecedented lumen maintenance of 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 luminaires to illuminate the organ chambers, pillars, and latticework at either side of the main stage. The ColorBlast luminaires 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 luminaires 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 luminaires accentuate the theatre's breathtaking architectural details with saturated, high-quality colored light, to stunning effect.

    The goal of these renovations is to 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

    Share this page:

    Want to learn more?

    Browse our growing library of educational materials to keep you informed about critical and often confusing issues related to LED lighting technology.