When the San Jose McEnery Convention Centre needed a new lighting system that could support the multi-use, high-production-value conventions their clients expect, they turned to ETC. Now they have a lighting system as advanced as the industry around them.
“The previous sodium light fixtures were from the ‘80s,” says Gabriel Nemeth, director of event operations. “Advances in technology and changing client demands put us behind the times.”
This was particularly true for trade shows that demand a space that serves multiple functions, with some sections being used for keynotes and others for trade show booths. Clients would ask for dimmed lights over the keynote area and bright light in the tradeshow sections – something the old system couldn’t do, costing the client more money to get the effect they wanted.
The sodium fixtures were also unflattering. “It felt like you were in an old warehouse or a big box store,” says Tim Foster, director of production at Team San Jose. Foster, Nemeth, and their team wanted the cooler, bluer colour temperature lighting of 4000K to give the space the feel of natural sunlight.
For guidance to a solution, Team San Jose turned to Mike Wunder, CEO of Wunder Lighting and Controls, Inc. in the Bay Area. Wunder pointed them to the GDS ArcSystem. “There were a lot of positives with ETC and GDS,” says Wunder. In addition to being able to give them the 4000K colour temperature, individual fixture dimming, and operate at 277V, the output from the ArcSystem fixtures was high enough that they were able to reduce the number of fixtures they needed to install. “Because of output we were able to use 300 fewer fixtures – a significant amount.”
“The ArcSystem fixtures were easy to install and we were knocking out four or five rows of fixtures a day because they were they were so user-friendly,” says Curtis Barkle of Stronghold Engineering, the electrical contractor on the project.
Barkle and Stronghold were responsible for demolishing the old ceiling structure, prepping and updating the ceiling infrastructure, then installing 554 ArcSystem Pro Eight-Cell fixtures. “When the fixtures arrived they were exactly as anticipated, making it quick and easy to install and wire the system to the client’s expectations. The on-time completion of this project could not have been possible without the help and coordination of ETC and Michael Wunder.”
In the end, the San Jose Convention Centre got the high-tech lighting system that befitted the Silicon Valley venue. “We’re in the middle of the epicentre of innovation,” says Foster. “We should take advantage of the most advanced technology on the planet. And we felt we did that by partnering with ETC.”