Taking the stairs is a colourful experience at the new Wencel Building in Boulder, Colorado. The staircase leading from street level down to its basement courtyard has been transformed with an animated, interactive light installation by Mountain Light and James Sale Lighting.
Under each step are RGB nodes on 100mm centers (about 900 total), each with their own DMX address. An LPC 2, LPC 4 and TPC are used for control, with Art-Net protocol providing node control. The steps are fitted with IR sensors (connected to Pharos RIO 80s) that detect people using the staircase.
There are 12 lighting shows that play depending on the season, date, time, and number of people on the stairs. A choice of several custom themed shows play continuously, with individual steps animating as people walk up or down them. A complimentary secondary show takes over if four or more people are simultaneously using the staircase, as well as animated “chimes” on the hour.
The default show is a peaceful water design created from three different videos of streams and rivers from the Rocky Mountains. The water show morphs into a dramatic fire show when multiple people use the stairs. Other custom themed shows include a pink design with rainbow animations for breast cancer awareness month in October, and a late-night program reminiscent of the Northern lights which animates with shooting stars.
All the date/time/step programming is LUA scripted. There are several manual override options available on the TPC, allowing easy user control for special occasions. John Fuller of Mountain Light company created the system design, with James Sale designing the programming, the node assemblies and installation. The building’s architect, Aldo Sebben of Studio Architecture, collaborated closely with the lighting design team throughout the process.