Large-Scale Solution For Ballroom Lighting

Dimming-and-control systems serve grand functions in a hotel event space.

Hotel Nikko’s 6,652-sq.-ft. grand ballroom serves large-scale functions such as weddings and corporate events. Lighting is key to creating the desired atmosphere and mood.

Hotel Nikko, located in the Union Square district of downtown San Francisco, reopened in early spring 2017 after a three-month renovation. At a cost of $60 million, and in tribute to the hotel’s 30th anniversary, major improvements were made in infrastructure and technology. Renovations included those to public spaces, the grand ballroom, meeting spaces, and a majority of guestrooms and suites, in addition to seismic and structural upgrades.

The 6,652-sq.-ft. grand ballroom on the hotel’s third floor serves large-scale functions such as weddings and private corporate events. As with any event space, lighting is key to creating the desired atmosphere and mood. Taking into account a new lighting design, the existing and decades-old dimming system needed to be replaced with one that could handle high-level, decorative LED lighting and incorporate dimming protocols such as DMX to accommodate RGB lighting brought in for special events. Hotel management also required a system to integrate with the stage/dimmer lighting console that was intuitive enough for people renting the space to use. Besides having to meet various lighting requirements, another challenge was the limited access to the ceiling and walls that could slow installation. Other project considerations included budget and meeting California Title 24 requirements.

Providing the appropriate lighting scene for events lead hotel management to Legrand’s Wattstopper automation-and-controls systems.

Large-scale Solution

The Wattstopper architectural dimming platform from Legrand, West Hartford, CT (, was recommended and chosen for the project. Meeting lighting-system requirements for LED and dimming protocols, intuitive navigation, and energy-code compliance, the solution consisted of a range of products. A Wattstopper lighting-control and automation panel and InFusion controller provide pre-configured architectural dimming and integration options of multiple dimming load types. DMX-DALI gateways integrate stage-board control and control of local DMX lighting.

Three Equinox 73 LCD touchscreens installed with Commercial Equinox UI software provide 24/7 control with always-on screens powered with a network connection. Preset scene control and individual zone control allow divide and combine capabilities.

The hotel staff appreciated the ability to customize lighting using a touchscreen.

Other products used in the project included daylight sensors to meet energy-code compliance. Service was also important to the contractors and lighting professionals involved in the project to ensure a smooth experience from project design, mobilization, installation, and first use.

The lighting system provides user interfaces such as touchscreens and mobile apps for easy control for event and hotel staff to set up the ballroom space and make changes to conform to client needs. Cat5 connected touchscreens made installation simple. The staff recognizes the immense flexibility in how the space is used and the ability to customize lighting using a touchscreen.

Hotel management appreciated Legrand’s outstanding field service, including application-engineering design support and assistance throughout installation, programming, and training.

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