A Rhapsody of Colour and Light Breathes New Life into British Columbian Statue

August 4, 2023

Sunsets in Kelowna, the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada’s British Columbia, are a bit more dramatic these days thanks to a new high-performance lighting system that spotlights the Rhapsody Dolphins Statue located on the city’s waterfront. The large-scale fiberglass sculpture of three dolphins frolicking in a fountain is the creation of renown artist Robert Dow Reid whose works of art are often inspired by the sea and aquatic life. Reid’s grandfather was a sea caption, so he spent much of his early life on whaling vessels which explains his fascination with the sea.

Internationally known for its award-winning vineyards and wineries, Kelowna is a popular tourist destination annually drawing nearly two million visitors. Tourists are attracted not only to the area’s wineries but are also drawn by its beautiful views of mountains and its thriving waterfront.

A Rhapsody of Colour and Light Breathes New Life into British Columbian Statue

The 20-foot-high Rhapsody Dolphins Statue that’s surrounded by a 45-foot diameter pond is a focal point of Kelowna’s waterfront.

Until recently, however, the statue was not garnering the attention it deserved because of poor lighting that was being supplied by outdated metal halide lamps.

Recognizing that the statue could benefit from an upgrade to its appearance, Marriot Hotel contacted Macs II Agencies, which represents power, electrical, lighting and lighting controls manufacturers throughout British Columbia and Yukon Territory. The company provides technical support for contractors, specifiers, and distributor partners.

Kelly Kozar, project and specifications representative for Macs II Agencies, said, “In replacing the existing lighting, we wanted the ability to add color and increase the lighting levels on the dolphins.  After a thorough investigation, we realized that we needed a product with hardwire and wireless control ability that was suitable for a very wet environment. This led us to specify Aqua Drum and Aria from Acclaim Lighting.” 

Aqua Drum Family Series is a high output, submersible, LED flood fixture. The IP68-rated fixture that is submersible up to 20 feet features an all-stainless-steel construction with an optional in-grade housing mounting. It is available in multiple color temperatures of white (2700K, 3000K, 3500K, 4000K) and color changing versions (RGBW and RGBA) and is ideal for fountains, ponds and various landscape applications. It is even UL certified for pool and spa applications. Aqua Drum can perform in temperatures from 40º F to 122º F (-40º C to 50º C) with a 150,000-hour performance life.

Complementing Aqua Drum with its built-in internal receiver, the Aria DMX system is a compact, local, outdoor-rated wireless DMX system that can also be hardwired. Its transceiver can act as either the sending or receiving point with up to 15 channels on the 2.4 GHz band. Aria’s internal wireless radio features both automatic networking and signal routing optimization to ensure the best possible reception of DMX data. The Aria DMX system has a 5dB, omni-directional antenna, which provides transmission up to 2600 feet line of sight and 300 feet between obstructions and walls.

For optimal illumination, 14 Aqua Drum fixtures were mounted in the bottom of the fountain and around the statue.  The beam angle was set at 40×40 to highlight the intricacies of the three dolphins. Using eight high output and six standard output Aqua Drum RGBW (3000K) fixtures, the units deliver 3259 and 1600 lumens, while consuming only 36 and 18 watts operating on 100-270 voltage.   The Aria DMX system can provide transmission for approximately 2500 feet with the Aria directional antenna.

The lighting system also incorporated the Art 500, a touch panel DMX Controller with 1,024 DMX channels and 500 programmable scenes, to provide powerful control features for setting precise colors on the statue.

“We increased the lighting levels on the dolphins while maintaining the power consumption,” said Kozar.  “The big change was adding and controlling the color, which provides dynamic lighting effects. Since it was the first color-changing installation authorized by the City of Kelowna, we were happy that the City was so happy with the final results.”

Kozar, added, “We have also received positive feedback from the residents. As a result of all the buzz associated with the newly lit statue, the nearby hotel is now considering upgrading its landscape and building facade with similar products and color-changing capabilities as a means to spotlight seasonal changes and local community events.”

Participants in the project include:

  • City of Kelowna (Owner)
  • Delta Grand (Owner Final Decision)
  • Dolphins Condo Strata (owner)
  • Horizon Electric (Installation and Sales)
  • Macs II Agencies (Sales and Specification)

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