Tampere Hall

Located 180 kilometers north of Helsinki, Tampere Hall is home to the Tampere Opera and the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, and is the largest concert and congress centre in the Nordic countries. Recently, Audico Systems installed 281 of Elation Professional’s dynamic Fuze Pendant LED downlights in what is one of the most spectacular house lighting installations in the world.

The impetus for the house lighting upgrade stemmed from EU regulations that will effectively end the use of certain halogen bulbs, coupled with the fact that the venue’s old house lighting system was nearing the end of its lifetime. The project commenced in 2018 with Audico, Elation’s Finnish partner based just west of Helsinki, conducting product demos of various house lighting fixtures, including the Fuze Pendant.

“The venue required good quality white light with high colour rendering and also highly saturated colours for effects. The fixtures also had to be very silent,” explained Project Sales Manager at Audico, Tapio Järvinen, who has worked with the venue on various projects over the past eight years. “We chose the Fuze Pendant because of the good light quality (CRI of 90) and the good dimming. It also had enough output to cover the venue, and because it is fanless it does not make a noise.” Tapio said that a colour-changing solution was not necessarily a requirement at the beginning of the project, but as the jump from general halogen to LED-based lighting was happening anyway, the leap wasn’t made any more difficult by adding a colour-mixing option, but instead was a positive addition to the system. 

Audico supplied the fixtures and handled design of the lighting and control systems, working closely with the venue’s lighting technicians. The company also handled installation and commissioning of the fixtures, as well as installation, commissioning and programming of the control system. Audico completed the main part of the installation in the summer of 2020 with additional work completed in March of this year. Ramboll Finland completed the design for the electrical systems.

One of the biggest challenges that the Audico team had to deal with was time constraints. The majority of the installation took place over a three-week period last summer where over 370 existing halogen lights were removed and replaced with 281 Fuze Pendants along with 100 other LED downlights. Five dimmer cabinets were also removed while five switchboards were installed and all data cabling completed.

Tampere Hall is a carbon neutral building and has operated as a green value pioneer in Finland for years, emphasising environmental and social responsibility in its operations and procurement. With environmental responsibility one of its guiding values, the fact that the new house lighting was LED-based was extremely important to them.

“The savings comes from more precise control, the ability to control each light individually,” Tapio said. “For example, now they can turn on only a few lights if needed or only turn on lights in a certain area, like over the stage. Because they have more precise control, they have no reason to keep lights on all the time. The lighting renovation was intended to consider not only energy efficiency but all users of the Hall from visiting lighting designers to the daily cleaning staff.”

The result is a system with fixed scenes for different kinds of use: orchestra rehearsals, audience arrival, cleaning, etc. Tapio said a power limit for the Fuze Pendants has been set at 80% “but when the system is all on it still only runs at 40% so there is plenty of output in the Fuze Pendant!” The 11,000-lumen fixtures are equipped with 25º lenses and were recessed in already existing positions using a custom mounting piece. The narrower lens was necessary for the long throws, which range from 15 to 18-metres. With colour temperature of the Fuze Pendants adjustable from 2,400 – 8,500K, the house look in the space has been set at 3,000K.

The Fuze Pendant’s full spectrum 230W RGBWL array and adjustable colour temperature allows the Hall to change the feel of the room whenever needed, or colour match with anything happening on stage. Tapio commented: “It’s fun to have a system that can do so much but I think my favourite look overall is ‘all on’, which is basically a warm white scene. It’s so easy to get good warm white with good colour rendering from the Pendant’s colour mixing. Another favourite feature is the ability to quickly create pixel mapping effects.”

Tampere-hall uses an ETC Paradigm control system across all areas of the building for lighting control. In the Great Hall, there are general buttons on doorposts where lights can be turned on for cleaning and general working,  but by using the Paradigm touchscreens, you can control the lighting more precisely, with varying scenes for different intensities and colours. For additional control Tampere-hall has connected a High End Systems Hog4 controller to override the Paradigm control. All general lighting takes four universes of DMX, and the system also uses networked DMX (sACN) for controlling. There are six network switches across Great Hall, so it is easy to connect ethernet-DMX nodes or light controllers all across the venue.

The first events using the new house lighting system have already taken place, including several large TV productions. One of those broadcasts was so enamoured with the new lighting that they chose to film the event from positions backstage in order to use the house seating area as a beautifully aesthetic background. The Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra also live streams from the space each week.

Tapio reported that the client is very excited about the new system and that lighting technicians were especially eager to investigate the new possibilities. Noteworthy to mention is that the Fuze Pendant system in Tampere Hall is not the only Elation house lighting solution at the venue. In an adjacent hall in the complex, 69 Elation Colour Pendants are also used for dynamic house lighting.

This article first appeared in issue 31.4 of MONDO-DR, which you can read below –