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Rubicon Lighting shines bright for Algoa FM

The new Algoa FM building in Baakens Valley, Port Elizabeth boasts a funky interior – a reflection of the radio station’s motto: ‘Fun is serious business’. Rubicon Lighting played an integral part in creating the desired atmosphere by providing dramatic decorative lighting.

The client’s requirements

The interior of Algoa FM’s new, green building was designed to be ‘edgy, fun and vibey’ with a ‘sound’ theme. The decorative lighting needed to complement the theme, but also play a functional role enhancing and filling gaps left by natural light and standard light fittings. The building, with large windows across its façade, is visible to everyone driving into the Baakens Valley – a factor which was taken into consideration when deciding its finishes.

Rubicon Lighting only got involved in the project after its PE branch opened and by then the Algoa FM building was midway through construction. When architect Johann Staats saw the lights in Rubicon Lighting's catalogue – lights that weren’t yet available in South Africa, he said: “Those lights are coming into this building!” Algoa FM’s technical manager, Chris Wright agreed: “When we saw what Rubicon Lighting had to offer, it sent us in a different direction for the finishes inside the building.”

The solution

Before providing the lights, Rubicon Lighting did light metering to ensure it would provide LEDs at the correct wattage and level of lighting. The lights were designed, manufactured and assembled by Rubicon Lighting, and all the electrician needed to do was suspend and plug them in. Each light has an aluminium extrusion or profile which is custom-made to the required shape and size of the fitting. The LED lights are placed inside these profiles. Enough aluminium needs to be used for each profile to act as a heat sink, to dissipate the heat generated by the LEDs and LED drivers.

Centaurus: The oval suspended Centaurus light was used in Algoa FM’s boardroom. The aluminium profile was made according to the boardroom’s size and was fitted with an up-down luminaire (light fitting). This meant that one row of LEDs was placed inside the profile facing upwards, to light the boardroom ceiling, while a second row was placed facing downwards to illuminate the boardroom table. The LED lights used were selected based on the lumen (or light) output required for the room.

Polaris: Suspended from the ceiling in the open-plan office area at various levels are circular lights of different sizes. These lights mimic the patterns on the carpets and the architects regard them as the champagne bubbles, or ‘celebration’ of the building. The 25 fixtures were once again made from aluminium profiles of 600mm, 1 metre and 1,5 metres in diameter, with LED lights embedded in them. Rubicon Lighting had to manipulate the lumen output of each Polaris to ensure that the light intensity coming from each fixture was consistent with the next one.

Alternating Polaris: As one walks into Algoa FM’s entertainment area you’re drawn in by a long, wave-like light. This suspended LED was designed to look like a sound wave that amplifies or ‘increases in volume’ the further one goes into the room. This was the most complicated light that Rubicon Lighting had to provide for Algoa FM. The LED lights come in curved strips of varying radii. Rubicon Lighting had to link strips of different radii together to create this continuous, curved light which increases in size as it goes along. This unusual fitting was then given to installers to hang and plug in.

The total length of the fitting came to 7,5 metres. Rubicon Lighting used 3,500 Kelvin lights to create a warm, welcome feeling in the entertainment area.

Client feedback

The lighting provided by Rubicon Lighting lived up to the excitement and expectations of everyone involved in the project:

“We absolutely love it and we’ve received positive feedback from the client. A happy architect is one with a happy client.” – Craig Billson, director, Studio D’Arc Architects

“We are stoked. It was a first for the electrician who had to hang these lights, but the system worked so well that the levelling went effortlessly and the installation went without any damage, breakage or injury. Everything from Rubicon Lighting’s side slotted in exactly where it needed to be. We’ve received no complaints. I saw one of the staff wearing a cap indoors at her desk and thought she was struggling with glare from the lights on her computer. But Chris from Algoa FM told me she’s just hip and likes to wear a cap. I almost had a sleepless night!” – Johann Staats, director, Studio D’Arc Architects

“The lights are a massive wow factor in our building, they are really stunning! The staff were absolutely awe-struck when they came into the building for the first time.” – Chris Wright, technical manager, Algoa FM