ETC crystalizes controls for Momentary spaces

Date Posted: 7/13/2021

Written by Marshall Bissett

ETC has its world headquarters in Wisconsin, the Dairy State and home to innumerable cheeseheads. So it was probably fate that ETC controls found their way into the Momentary, a former cheese factory renovated into a contemporary art space in northwest Arkansas.

“The name is a play on the word ‘contemporary’ and the idea of being in the moment. It also speaks to that fleeting quality found in music and performance,” says Lieven Bertels, director of the Momentary.

The Momentary is a satellite to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. The venues are separated by a 1.5 miles, but the design team for the Momentary spanned a bit more distance. Designers from Mexico to Chicago and points in between all contributed. Brian Ross of Lighting and Power Solutions (LPS), the local ETC rep, designed the lighting control network to serve the new arts center and was tasked with combining the specifications of the international design team. Not originally an ETC spec job, Ross was able to prove the abilities of a Paradigm-based system to monitor and control the spaces in the 63,000-square-foot building via local and remote interfaces.

“There are dozens of individual zone stations throughout gallery and supporting spaces. We have ETC’s Paradigm Handheld Touchscreens scattered throughout building. You can walk around changing looks on the fly with them,” explains Ross. But that’s not the end of it. Paradigm’s network capability allows the entire lighting system in the Momentary to be controlled remotely at Crystal Bridges using their existing network backbone. The museum can monitor and operate the lighting in the building across town on a dedicated touch screen with custom graphics, or on a virtual touchscreen employees can load as needed.

“In terms of the lighting itself the design has an enormous number of third-party lighting fixtures and tracks,” says Ross. “There’s a lot of 0-10 volt dimming, DMX control, and simple switched lighting.” Thanks to Paradigm, the Momentary was able to use a common interface between the theatrical lighting in entertainment spaces and architectural controls in the art galleries. “That was the key to this job. There was no need for multiple interfaces for lighting effects.”

For Ross the biggest challenge was the sheer scale of the project. “Trying to blend documents from each design group and interpreting their nomenclature was tricky to say the least,” jokes Ross. Blending power requirements was the job of ten 48-way Echo Relay Panels, and an additional 24-way rack for an exterior structure. An additional 12 Foundry dimmers throughout the space kept all the controls in the ETC family.