Lighting The Fountain At Sydney’s Burwood RSL

May 15, 2003

Sydney´s Burwood RSL had a gaming room that was in dire need of a radical redesign. A major eyesore was the exterior wall holding two large windows. These windows perpetually had curtains drawn across them as gaming licensing requirements stipulate that no one can see into the gaming lounge. Not a good look for the popular club.

In stepped Mark Buczynski of Future World Design who was eager to challenge this problem. Buczynski gained his experience as a themed entertainment designer in Las Vegas and he looked to their casinos for inspiration, in particular the principle behind a lot of their exterior features which is to attract people to the spectacle and hence the gaming area.

Water feature
An existing fountain at the entry to the Gaming Area gave Buczynski the idea to create a water wall that would serve as both an interior and exterior water feature. The water wall, christened the Crystal Fountain, is both an exterior feature and an interior feature with the same effect duplicated on either side of the wall.

"I took the opportunity to create a show outside of the building although they were not originally looking for a show piece outside of the club," explained Buczynski. "However, once the idea was presented they liked it a lot."

All of the Crystal Fountain lighting is programmed to change throughout an operational day. The interior water feature lighting is programmed in conjunction with the video projections, audio, and other lighting effects in the gaming area, while the exterior lighting starts as the sun goes down.

Turns to Martin Professional
When approaching a project Buczynski readily admits that he immediately looks to Martin Professional to see if they have a product that suits his needs.
"Martin have such a good range and they appear to be heading in the same direction as I am," he said. "They seem to be developing their theatrical fixtures into longer lasting architectural fittings. Also, they always come at a good price!" 

Exterior 600 Compact
The stars of the lighting spectacle that happens every night at the Crystal Fountain are three Martin Exterior 600 Compact fixtures that are hidden inside the three towers in front of the waterfall. Each Exterior 600 is positioned below a glass pan into which water pours before overflowing back down the waterfall. Bytecraft Entertainment supplied and installed all of the lighting equipment with Ed Fardell as Project Manager. The Martin Exterior 600 Compacts were supplied through Martin’s Australian distributor Show Technology.

"I really like the light output you get from a Compact Exterior 600," said Buczynski. "They also have good colors and the colour changing is great - it gives a good range."

Myriad of effects
The Compact Exterior 600 fixtures project through several different optical surface combinations to create a myriad of dynamic effects that in turn project onto the fountain and building, as well as reflect down to add colour to the surrounding fountain area. Each Compact Exterior 600 projects through the water filled pan to create moving water reflections high up the façade of the building. Part of each light´s projection is through the sheet of water which spills off the back of the pan to create a more vertical water refection on the waterfall and lower portion of the façade.
"As the Compact Exterior 600 has to project through the glass pans, it´s important that they have a strong light output," continued Buczynski. "Size was also crucial as they had to fit in quite a small enclosure. So the Compact Exterior 600 was ideal. I could have found other fixtures that fit in the space but they wouldn´t have had nearly the light output that the Compact Exterior 600 has or the colour changing ability."

The widest part of each Exterior 600 projection creates the dramatic shadow lines on each side of the buildings vertical feature thus accentuating this architectural statement. The glass pans have been designed so that a portion of the light´s projection will be reflected away from the fountain and downward to add another layer of colour to the lower fountain lighting in this area.

Dynamic lighting show
The lighting program has a number of lighting states that are called up at random throughout the evening. These states are more static ´looks´ with slight cross fades of colour from the Exterior 600s to give some movement to the overall effect. On the hour and half hour, a dynamic lighting ´show´ occurs which highlights the capabilities of all the cutting edge lighting effects showcased in the Crystal fountain. This show has a multitude of lighting states including colour strobing like the spinning of a ´wheel of fortune´. The fountain will strobe through a rainbow of colours, then ´land´ on a particular combination. This ´wheel of fortune´ spins for one minute, and then settles back to one of the ´static´ states until the next half-hour show.

As well as the three Martin Compact Exterior 600 there are other lighting fixtures, including exterior floods, exterior tube lights and underwater colour changing LED fixtures, that are scattered around and in the fountain.