Martin LED luminaires faithfully simulate Antarctic light at newly opened penguin exhibit
View a video of the Martin illumination at Penguin Bay here
In order to simulate the unique light of the southern latitudes of the Falkland Islands for a colony of Gentoo penguins at LEGOLAND Parks’ recently opened Penguin Bay exhibit in Billund, Denmark, it was extremely important to choose the right lighting fixtures. The world famous amusement park consequently turned to the dynamic and customizable characteristics of Martin Professional’s Exterior 410™ and Exterior 100™ luminaires.
Penguin Bay, which opened in May 2012, is a 156 square meter natural area with boulders, a rocky beach and cold water where penguins have plenty of room to romp. “You can do a lot with themes - water, snow, ice, etc.,” states LEGOLAND exhibition manager and biologist Lars Nørholm Jensen, “but if the light is set incorrectly or is the wrong color, you can never achieve an optimal result. At the same time, we had to create an installation that had windows from a roller coaster tunnel, a restaurant and an outdoor but covered amphitheater; all in all a difficult cocktail in which to create the right light environment.”
Reproducing south polar light
It was crucial for the wellbeing of the penguins to obtain a faithful reproduction of the natural Antarctic light in all seasons. Sunrise and sunset in Denmark for example does not follow the same rhythm as that of the Falkland Islands, sunlight has different tones in summer and winter, and a large, beautiful moon often hangs over the islands. The changing length of the days and light intensity of the seasons have a great influence on a wide range of biological processes in penguins, including feeding, molting and breeding.
LEGOLAND & Martin cooperation
“It was with these criteria in mind that in the autumn of 2011 we found the right supplier of the perfect light in the form of Martin Professional for our penguin colony,” Lars states. “At LEGOLAND we have previously collaborated with Martin Professional, but never in connection with a zoological facility. We already knew of their good product quality and support so it was natural to contact them and hear more about the possibilities.”
Martin Professional and LEGOLAND, operated by Merlin Entertainments Group, have worked closely in the past on several projects. Martin’s Director of Strategic Projects, Morten Gjøtz, comments, “We place great value on the relationship we have developed with LEGOLAND and the Merlin Group. They are trend-setters that other theme parks look to for inspiration and we are proud to support them in that vision.
“For Penguin Bay we helped identify the ideal lighting for the environment in collaboration with the biologist, who is responsible for animal welfare. As the exhibit is both wet and cold at a constant 6-10 degrees Celsius, it places heavy demands on both authenticity and durability. Visitors also get a very positive experience as they are able to follow the penguins' movements both above and below water, which places unique demands on the lighting.”
Exterior 410, Exterior 100
At a workshop at Martin’s headquarter facility in Aarhus, Denmark, Lars got a first-hand opportunity to test various configurations and types of lamps, and the choice fell quickly to the Exterior 410, which fully met the criteria, Lars says. The Exterior 100 was also chosen for underwater illumination of the exhibit’s submerged ice formations.
“The Exterior 410 with associated software has enabled us, in collaboration with Martin Professional staff, to render a lighting scheme that comes very close to what the penguins would experience in nature,” Lars states, adding, “We have also managed to create the seasonal variations that are so important for them. Our penguin colony thrives at the facility and the many thousands of visitors who visit the exhibition daily are excited about the result.”
The Penguin Bay installation consists of 16 Exterior 410™ LED fixtures mounted in the ceiling and 7 Exterior 100 LED fixtures mounted underwater. Both luminaire types are designed for use in extreme environments and remain operational from -30 to +45 degrees Celsius. The LED-based lights require little maintenance, produce very little heat, and consume less energy than discharge source alternatives. Both luminaires can reproduce virtually any color of the rainbow, including color temperature shades of white, and are color calibrated to ensure a 100% uniform color reproduction.
The lighting installation is controlled by an intelligent system developed by Martin Professional that can be reprogrammed by LEGOLAND employees should there be a need for it.
Photos: Allan Toft / Martin Professional