Express Room, Westmead Children's Hospital
The Starlight Express Rooms are vibrant and interesting
environments designed and installed in five Children's
Hospitals nationwide with two more planned for the near
future. They are designed to provide a magic and quite
separate place for the children to escape the daily rigours
of hospital life. They provide various activities - entertainment,
movies, craft, guest appearances, dance and computer games.
The room also doubles as a TV studio with video, cameras,
mixing and switching to all the wards in the hospital.
Also there is a radio station broadcasting music and requests.
Hence they are quite sophisticated little communication
Ken Flower of Dreamscapes was invited onto this project
following an introduction to Jeanne Rockey (Director of
hospital services) and Jill Weekes (CEO) at the Starlight
Foundation. They were looking for a different approach to
lighting and projection and Ken has a history in concepts
and design for experiential environments and communication
architecture and interior was designed by Philip Mathieson
from Burley Katon Halliday, video and audio by Andrew Robertson
of Shorty Productions drapes and gauzes by Murray Smith
of Sundrape Aust.
such a variety of needs we all wanted to make sure the various
design elements integrated properly thus providing a good
balance and equilibrium - like an orchestra - where the
sum of the parts are greater than the individual components,"
wanted the projection and imaging to be able to cover all
surfaces of the room in different ways - walls, gauzes,
floor and ceiling. By using 'shades of white' as the base
colour scheme we were able to turn the whole room into a
projection surface. The whites and soft greys the architects
chose wouldn't distort any of the colour or imaging but
could also stand alone as a sophisticated look in it's own
up with the idea of using moving lights to project friendly
non-obtrusive images as 'moving wallpaper'. Shoals of tropical
fishes, flocks of butterflies, mobs of kangaroos and passing
clouds could become backgrounds to the various activities.
With gentle movements and changing colours, Ken wanted to
create a visual language that could provide a quirky but calming
a visual language in this environment it was important the
colour and imaging not overtake either the room, the activities
or the children," added Ken. "It had to be passive."
achieve this Ken chose 6 Martin MAC250+ as projectors and
56 Par 30 halogens as overall colour washes.
MAC250+ were just great with their superior optics, 250
MSD light source, indexable gobos, rotating prisms, soft
colour and smooth movements," Ken said. "They
are also cute to look at! The Par 30s recessed nicely into
the ceiling and provided a good even four colour background
Having calculated the magnification factor for the image
sizes, Ken then designed the montages that became the gobos.
He wanted to keep as much of the textures in the fish, butterflies
and other images as he could so he chose glass gobos with
different shades of greyscale. According to Ken, Joakim
Odlander at Gobotech was great helping with this and produced
the finished gobos with fantastic resolution in double quick
the control system Ken wanted to avoid a large control desk
bristling with knobs and dials. The operators of the rooms
are the 'Capt Starlights' that look after the children and
the daily activities - as such they need easy, quick and
non-technical access to the different states. Consequently
Ken chose the Martin LJ software and LJ touch via a PC and
17" touch screen to fill that side of the brief.
worked in closely with the architects on suspension points
and cabling, the installation was quite straightforward,"
concluded Ken. "Trevor Lloyd from CLS managed the installation
with support from Vince Haddad at Show Technology on the
room is running well with limitless opportunities for different
imaging and programming in the future. We all hope the feedback
from the children will help us with that process - and keep
our feet firmly on the ground."
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