Kids throughout North America have long cherished red Radio Flyer wagons, and the company’s headquarters now sports an LED-lit glass façade that can shine brightly adjacent to a giant replica wagon through the day and night.
Acclaim Lighting has released details of a dynamic LED color façade lighting project at the Radio Flyer company headquarters on West Grand Avenue in Chicago, IL. The company long known for its bright-red kids’ wagons can now make its facility appear equally bright red, day or night, alongside the giant replica wagon just outside the front door. Acclaim supplied the solid-state lighting (SSL) products to a team including JR Lighting Design, Gensler Architects, Leopardo Construction, and Grand Kahn Electric.
Radio Flyer sought to revamp its headquarters, which had been a brick-clad building, in a way that more closely matched the sleek and colorful wagons, scooters, bikes, and other ride-on products that it produces. The answer was a tube-steel-frame and channel-glass front wall that welcomes visitors with sparkle and what the company describes as a “whimsical spirit” in the organization. Moreover, the company wanted to be able to light the 167×30-ft façade day and night.
JR Lighting was tasked with the lighting design that had to meet Radio Flyer’s vision and perform in Chicago’s harsh climate. “The client requested that the lighting be viewable during the morning and daytime hours on an east-facing wall that is made primarily of glass,” said Jason Reberski, president of JR Lighting Design. “Any element of the lighting system needed to be able to withstand the harsh conditions an outdoor permanent installation faces in Chicago’s winter and summer months.”
The environmental conditions meant that the luminaires installed would have to be IP65 rated. A feature article explains that concept with more details on the ingress protection rating. Meanwhile, the project demanded a close chromaticity match across the luminaires, enough light output to be visible during the day, and simple-to-use controls.
The signature red wagon outside the Radio Flyer headquarters was the inspiration for the LED facade lighting system that features multiple LED channels for color-changing illumination.
JR Lighting settled on Acclaim fixtures. “The most important part was that the batch of installed fixtures color match as much as possible, because the façade system as a whole was one large surface that needed to be illuminated evenly and show no signs of color variation,” Reberski said. “Acclaim’s ability to ensure a near-perfect color match across fixtures was a key component in selecting this product.”
The project uses Acclaim Dyna Drum HO custom RGB+R flood fixtures. As the model name implies, the luminaires have red, green, and blue LED channels to allow the generation of any color. But the +R suffix indicates the addition of a second channel of red LEDs. That custom modification allows perfect replication of Radio Flyer’s iconic red color and makes it visible even during the day.
The luminaires are connected and controlled using the Acclaim Aria wireless DMX transceivers. The products are outdoor rated and afford 15 communication channels in the unlicensed 2.4-GHz band. The Radio Flyer project marked the first commercial installation of the Aria technology for Acclaim, but the team that worked on the project said the controls are working flawlessly.
We regularly write about SSL projects on iconic buildings or at historic sites. And many are spectacular, such as our recent coverage of Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. And the details of how a designer achieves the goals of a project are inevitably interesting, such as the project at the John Hancock Center in Chicago that had custom lighting elements in play. But the Radio Flyer façade lighting project will likely stand out, attracting families visiting Chicago to drive by the facility to see the new lighting and the matching giant replica wagon.