THE PRINCESS THEATRE, MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA
Melbourne has an extraordinary number of extravagant theatres, and none is closer to the hearts of its theatre-goers than the Princess Theatre — the oldest in the city. It was completed in 1886 by architect William Pitt and the façade has remained largely untouched ever since. In anticipation of the opening of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child the theatre has undergone a renovation to inaugurate the new show. The project, enabled by Lovell Chen Architects, carefully reconstructed the elaborate exterior elements and ornamentation using traditional methods. The sympathetic paint treatment applied reveals the original detailing of the theatre. Gold and silver paint with gold and silver leaf highlights, or in some cases a full gold and silver leaf finish, has been reinstated to the ornamentation and decorative elements.
FLUX LIGHTING LED luminaires were used to illuminate the reconstructed elements of the pavilion. The three slate-roofed pavilions with decorate ironwork were illuminated with the X-LINE NANO linear luminaires, the balustrades were silhouetted using the X-LINE MINI linear luminaires and the representation sculpture of Fame and the flagpole was highlighted with the POWERFLOOD 3 projectors. The reconstructed giant Corinthian pilasters and the central pediment with the British coat of arms were illuminated with the colour changing linear X-LINE QUATTRO. Colour changing X-LINE QUATTRO luminaires were also used on the canopy to provide a façade wash. The integrated DMX drivers which allowed for dynamic and responsive colour changing control was an important element of the project. The first part of the Harry Potter show used warm white light and the second part cool white. Colour flexibility was also needed for other theatre projects.
The installation was carried out by Marriner Group. The main challenge was to install the products whilst ensuring the façade appeared visually untouched. It was well worth the effort. “This is a once-in-a-generation show… We had to make sure the theatre would be equal to the production and compliment it perfectly” – Jason Marriner, Marriner Group owner.
The FLUX products are distributed in Victoria by Buckford Illumination Group. Darren Bucknall, Director of Buckford, says he was pleased with the final result, affirming “Everyone’s happy.”
The best-practice conservation of the exterior of Princess Theatre is an important outcome for Melbourne and its theatre practitioners and skilled conservation technicians and tradespeople. It’s a unique building that stands comparison with its London counterparts and is a prominent example of an elaborate 19th century theatre building. And it looks beautiful, twinkling once more as the lights come on for evening performances.
FLUX is a French lighting manufacturer, specializing in innovative exterior LED illumination. The company is part of the Fagerhult Group and a sister company to WE-EF. FLUX products have been used on such iconic projects as the London Tower Bridge and the Beatus Rhenanus Bridge between Germany and France. Established in Lyon in 1993, FLUX launched its Melbourne-based Australian and New Zealand operation in 2018.