Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Chicago Lightscape Lighting and Sound experience enhanced by DesignLab Chicago

Photo Courtesy Chicago Loop Alliance

When the Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) wanted to attract more people to the shops and businesses of State Street they weren’t sure exactly what type of experience they would create. They knew, however, that they wanted a unique placemaking installation that drew on the latest technology available.

DesignLab Chicago helped develop the solution in the form of clusters of giant LED-lit fiberglass “reeds” – symbolic of the prairie grass that constituted a historic Chicago long since gone – capable of creating coordinated light shows in conjunction with hidden sound systems.

DesignLab worked with a team of lighting professionals, show designers and technology integrators to overcome challenges of wireless control, crowded bandwidth and limited power supply to create a dynamic showpiece that has attracted thousands of visitors and continues to evolve.

“The multitude of LED-lit reeds allow Chicago Lightscape to essentially become a high-technology, low-resolution digital canvas,” explains DesignLab’s President Larry Schoeneman. A series of programmed shows combine music and sound effects with the colored lights, creating immersive experiences up close, and moving images from further away. “Its flexibility and durability have continued to make Lightscape a premier placemaking installation,” added Schoeneman.

The CLA expanded the system in 2012 and has the capability to add the system to more streets in the future.

Excellence Awards Architainment Nominee – read about the project from Live Design and their 2011 award competition

CLA Video on Streetscape – view footage from the grand opening of the project and see the lights in action

About DesignLab Chicago

DesignLab has been a principal provider of quality lighting systems and products throughout the Midwest for 30 years.  Born out of a garage as a reaction to existing dealer prices DesignLab was established on the ideal that all customers have the right to a fair deal.

DesignLab is heavily involved in the theatrical and themed entertainment markets. The company also works in the architectural and placemaking industries.


About Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Loop Alliance was founded in 2005 following a merger between the Central Michigan Avenue Association and the Greater State Street Council, which was created in 1929 and consisted of local merchants eager to promote economic prosperity for their businesses during the Great Depression.

According to its mission, “Chicago Loop Alliance is a member-based business organization that represents Chicago’s most dynamic mixed-use district—the Loop—and advocates for the rapidly growing central business area. Chicago Loop Alliance is focused on promoting and uniting Loop businesses and organizations to support one another in creating a vibrant, flourishing Loop where people live, work and play.”


Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki owns and publishes InPark Magazine. Started in 2004, InPark Magazine provides owners and operators the perspective from "in"side the "park." Martin has also written for publications like Sound & Communications, Lighting & Sound America, Attractions Management and others. Martin has been featured in Time Magazine, CNN.com and Folio. Martin lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

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