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ETC Installs Unison Paradigm Building Control on Ivory Coast

When the managers of the Hôtel Ivoire in Abidjan, on Africa’s Ivory Coast, were looking to refurbish the hotel’s congress centre, they realised that the bar had been set high: it was originally built at the behest of former president Houphouet Boigny as a symbol of the country’s modernity following decolonisation.

Consultant Vincent Taurisson of VTIC, Paris, was commissioned to work on the AV systems and stage lighting across the whole congress centre. He says: “The architect Pierre Fakhoury and lighting designer Julien Thomas decided to use RGB LEDs to illuminate the inner dome of the large congress room and perform dynamic colour changes on the roof’s network of supports. The supports are actually a meshed structure made of plaster with a golden aspect symbolising African vegetation. The coloured illumination is provided from the inside of the roof's volume, making spectacular effects.

“I specified ETC Unison Paradigm control because we could install it in a back room – it fits into a 19” cabinet in the dimmer room – and is robust and very reliable. It needs to be, because it is in use all day, every day. We also needed to make use of the multiple protocols it can output. Plus it can communicate through Ethernet 10/100 base-T with the ETC Congo jr control desk which we use for stage lighting. This means that the desk can control both the architectural and stage lighting to make a ‘global show’.

“The RGB dome illumination is very impressive and works well – we had excellent feedback from the hotel. It was first used for the African Development Bank’s annual congress in May, attended by a number of African leaders and national bank governors, and it was at this meeting that they decided to establish the AfDB’s main headquarters in Abidjan.”

The lighting is operated each day by staff using one of the two Unison Paradigm button stations installed in the congress centre; the control desk is only required when reprogramming is necessary. The Unison stations can be used to start special Paradigm presets to illuminate the inside dome when no technicians are present or when they want to change the light ambiance from the stage. One of the stations is in the stage desk control area and the other is in the technical room near the Congo jr board.

Included in the stage lighting specification were a number of ETC Source Four Zoom and Source Four PAR luminaires. “One of the main challenges on the project,” explains Jean Louis Pernette, managing director at ETC’s French distributor, Avab, “was the difficulty of travelling between our office in Paris and the installation site. We decided to do as much of the programming as we could in advance. So most of the work was done here, with just a very small amount of final program editing done in the Ivory Coast.

“This was the first ETC installation in the Ivory Coast, and we’re looking forward to doing more.”

The architect on the project, which was commissioned by the State of Ivory Coast, was Pierre Fakhoury, and the project’s master builder was PFO Ltd. The congress room indoor lighting designer was Julien Thomas, with the outdoor lighting designed by Marc Speeg & Philippe Michel. The stage designer was Sophie Thomas, and AV & stage lighting integrator was Audio Equipement of Lyon, France. The consultant was Vincent Taurisson of VTIC, Paris.





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