ETC Controls Lighting Blades at Award-Winning Riverfront Park Pavilion

Date Posted: 9/24/2020

Riverfront Park Pavilion lighting controlled by Mosaic

Middleton, WI (24 Sept 2020) – Spokane’s Riverfront Park Pavilion was built for the Expo ’74 world’s fair before becoming a unique event space defined by its tent-like array of steel cables. David Baumann and the team at NAC Architecture and Engineering chose an ETC Mosaic system to control their new cutting-edge lighting design for a recent renovation at the Pavilion. Their design was honored with a 2020 Outdoor Lighting Design and a 2020 Control Innovation Award from the Illuminating Engineering Society.

Baumann and NAC’s lighting design attached hundreds of lighting “blades” to the steel cables. The blade is a semi-opaque acrylic structure about the size and thickness of a surfboard that houses a strip of RGBW LEDs. “In the daylight you can see through them, at night the LED strips appear to float in space and do a great job of lighting the cables they hang from,” explains Baumann. “We laser etched one surface of the blade to increase the diffusion effect of the LEDs.”

The etching also helps birds avoid flying into the blades, which is important, because there’s a lot of blades. The final design called for 479 – enough to span half a mile if laid end to end. “The blades come in 3-, 4- and 6-foot lengths. The spacing of the segments depended on gaps in the cable structure – it was a giant electrical jigsaw puzzle,” says Baumann.

Riverfront Park Pavilion lighting controlled by Mosaic

The LED strips, built by GVA Lighting, operate on 380 volts DC fed by custom cables that deliver power and DMX data to the individual blades. All told the design uses nearly 10,000 channels (about 17 universes) of DMX, all pixel-mapped and controlled by a Mosaic Show Controller X.

“When we told the Parks Department we could do anything, the programming possibilities seemed limitless,” says Baumann. “Our local ETC rep, Kelsey Bolster at J.C. Wright, did a lot of early work on the control system and pretty soon we had a series of looks on Mosaic for the 15-minute show at sunset along with specials for St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Seahawks games.”

In his 15 years with NAC Architecture, this was the largest DMX project he had ever tackled. “I learned a lot on the job,” he says. “Kelsey at J.C Wright and ETC were really helpful at every turn.”

The Pavilion isn’t the only job ETC has helped on at the Riverfront Park complex in Spokane. ETC also lit and controlled the “jewel box” of Riverfront Park, the 110-year-old Looff Carrousel. Both projects are featured on ETC’s new online project portfolio, a photographic gallery of the creative, ground-breaking work ETC brings to life. To browse through these stunning designs and more, visit