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Robert Juliat Topaze at the Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

Robert Juliat USA has supplied two of its customized RJE Topaze 1200W followspots to the recently renovated Oceanarium exhibit at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

Known as “The World’s Aquarium”, the John G. Shedd Aquarium is situated on the shores of Lake Michigan where it first opened its doors to the public in 1930. It has recently undergone major refurbishment with the complete renovation of the Oceanarium and Marine Mammal amphitheater.

Robert Juliat’s dealer in Illinois, Intelligent Lighting Creations (ILC) was the installation contractor for the project with the charge to transform the space into more of a theatre environment. The result is a ‘reimagined space’ which plays host to the Aquarium’s new show entitled Fantasea.

ILC specified the Robert Juliat Topazes as front of house followspots, in conjunction with Lighting Designers John Featherstone, Tammy Smith and Avraham Mor of Lightswitch Chicago.

“The size of the venue did not warrant anything larger than a 1200W fixture and the space and weight restrictions were quite a challenge,” says ILC’s Matt Pearlman. “The Robert Juliat Topaze RJE is only 75lbs including the ballast and it was possible to pole-mount it so it would fit into the limited space available. It is a compact unit with a small footprint, a stunning light output and a great field – all the things we like about Robert Juliat lights!”

Pearlman also chose the Topaze RJE for its electronic ballast since there is a high video element within the show. “The upstage ‘cyc’ wall of the new theatre is a 500ft wide glass wall looking out over Lake Michigan. It has roman shades that can be brought across to act as a projection backdrop for the video projection. Flicker free followspots are therefore imperative - and, fortunately, what the RJE adaptations offer!”

The Topaze RJE fixture was originally created for Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s Magic Tour in 2008 which toured with six units, and with eightunits on his Working on a Dream tour in 2009.They are assembled in the US from the standard Topaze head and an electronic power supply, manufactured by Morpheus Lights of Las Vegas, NV, in place of the standard magnetic power supply. “The result is a single unit that suited the Shedd Aquarium installation very well and proved to be a good solution in terms of performance and physical dimensions,” continues Pearlman.

“A final, significant reason for choosing Robert Juliat is the experience the company has of putting followspots into this challenging kind of environment, having done so on numerous water–orientated Vegas spectaculars. Robert Juliat fixtures have a proven track record of performing successfully in an environment of high humidity in proximity to both chlorinated and salt water, and are backed with a two-year warranty.

“The choice has been a popular one and the operators really enjoy the smoothness of the controls.”





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