Custom White ADJ LED-Powered Moving Heads Bring New York Mall’s Stunning Atrium To Life

The centerpiece atrium of New York’s new Tangram Mall has been equipped with a lighting system comprised of ADJ’s flagship Focus Spot 6Z moving head spot fixtures and powerful Vizi Wash Z37 wash units. The installation, carried out by local ADJ dealer Canal Sound & Light, is being utilized to generate atmospheric lighting displays that enhance the space’s aesthetic in the late afternoons and evenings as well as to illuminate the regular activations and special events hosted in the area.

Inspired by the traditional Chinese puzzle, Tangram is designed to be a space that presents a variety of possibilities. It is an exciting mixed use development project set to become the vibrant heart of the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, NY. Filling an entire city block, in comprises four towers – incorporating residential, office and hotel space – rising from a large two-story mall that includes retail units, a movie theater and a food hall. At the very center of the development is a large atrium that serves as a hub, connecting the four towers and all the mall’s public space.

Based in the heart of New York City, Canal Sound and Light (originally Canal Hi-Fi) has operated from the same location at 319 Canal Street since 1977. As well as retailing DJ, lighting, and audio equipment, the company has a busy rental and production department, and also takes on regular integration projects, including many of New York’s nightlife venues. The company was initially brought on to the Tangram Mall project to install a background music PA system comprising 200+ ceiling mounted speakers.

“It was all the way back before the pandemic that we first got involved with Tangram Mall,” explains Canal Sound and Light’s owner, Jeffrey Kwan, who also served as Project Manager. “We were brought in to design an extensive background audio system, to be installed as part of the initial internal fit out of the mall. However, during our planning conversations, the owners also expressed a desire to create wow factor in the building’s atrium. As the internal finish was to be predominantly flat, white surfaces, we felt the obvious solution was to install versatile lighting fixtures that could be used to add a splash of color as well as texture and movement. We were inspired by the World Trade Centre Oculus transportation hub, which also has a white finish but is illuminated with colors and GOBOs for the holidays and other special occasions. When we pitched this to the owners, they loved the idea and from there we designed the system, which is now in place. During the planning phase we were also inspired by a story we read on the ADJ website about the CITY2 mall in Denmark, where Focus Spot 6Zs had been used for a similar purpose, which gave us confidence in using that fixture for this particular type of application.”

Jeffrey and his team worked with installation partner AV Pros NY to carry out the installation and also collaborated with the other contractors working on the project to integrate an automated lighting fixture package into the overall design of the atrium. Recessed spaces were created in the mezzanine level of the two-story atrium to accommodate the fixtures, rigged to bars that were coated in white paint to blend in with the overall aesthetic. For the same reason, Jeffrey arranged for ADJ to supply the seventeen moving heads specified for the project with all white casings. Custom power coating is a service that ADJ offers as a special-order option on all its moving head fixtures, where a color other than black is particularly required.

The primary fixture utilized for the project was ADJ’s flagship Focus Series moving head spot luminaire, the Focus Spot 6Z. Ten of these fixtures were installed, spread across the five rigging bars positioned around the circular atrium. Pairing a potent 300W cool white LED engine with a precision-engineered, high-quality optical system, the Focus Spot 6Z delivers extremely punchy output, allowing for sharp aerial effects and crisp GOBO projections. It offers an extensive collection of beam-shaping tools, including motorized focus, motorized zoom (9° ~ 28°), two frost filters, two independent GOBO wheels (each featuring seven slots for replaceable, indexed rotating GOBOs), two independent color wheels (including UV, CTO and CTB filters) and two rotating prisms (6-facet linear and 6-facet circular).

“We chose the Focus Spot 6Z for a variety of reasons,” states Jeffrey. “Obviously, the sun is the brightest light source on the planet, and the atrium has a lot of windows allowing in natural light, so it was important that we went for the brightest fixture possible. This was also added flourish for the venue, not part of its core business, so the budget was not unlimited, which made affordability another key component. The 6Z offers excellent value for money, considering its impressive output and versatile feature set. The dual GOBO wheels were important here to give us the ability to generate a wide variety of animated effects, and the ability to use custom GOBOs was essential so that we can create custom looks for different seasons and holidays in the future. Finally, the LED light source was another important consideration. The lights are mounted in a difficult to access position, which meant we wanted to remove as many potential points of failure and maintenance requirements as possible, so we thought the best thing to do was use an LED-powered spot.”

To augment the pattern projections of the Focus Spot 6Zs, Canal also supplied seven of ADJ’s Vizi Wash Z37 dedicated wash fixtures. Each of these powerful luminaires feature an array of 37 x 20-Watt quad color (RGBW) LEDs arranged in concentric circles. By varying the intensity of the four primary LED colors, the fixture is capable of outputting a wide variety of colors, while 11 independent zones of control allow for the creation of animated ‘eye candy’ effects on the face of the fixture. In addition, it offers a motorized zoom function, allowing the beam angle to be altered between a concise 10-degrees and a wide 60-degrees. This provides lighting designers with the versatility to generate anything from a narrow beam to a far-reaching wash.

“We included the Vizi Wash Z37s for filling in colors while the 6Zs took care of textures and movement,” explains Jeffrey. “I like these fixtures for their brightness, their smooth color mixing, and their wide zoom range. Having the ability to wash the whole floor or focus in on particular areas of the roof – without losing light out of the glass areas – proved extremely useful. Finally, as with the 6Zs, these fixtures provided exactly what we needed to deliver on our vision without breaking the bank.”

The system is controlled using the ONYX platform from ADJ’s sister company Obsidian Control Systems. A touchscreen PC running the ONYX software, paired with an ONXY NXWing control interface, is kept in a utility room located off the atrium on the mezzanine floor. From here the mall’s management can easily choose from a selection of programmed shows that have been created by Canal’s Uriel ‘Chicken’ Coria. At the moment, these are generic sequences featuring standard GOBO patterns and colored effects, however, in the future it is planned for the Canal team to return on a regular basis to create custom shows for different seasons and promotions. For programming purposes, as well as for when the venue hosts performances or special events where a lighting operator is required, cabling had been installed that allows the ONYX control system to also be connected at a convenient location within the atrium itself.

Having now been in use for a number of months, the lighting system Jeffrey and his team specified, supplied and installed at Tangram Mall has proven to very effective in meeting the requirements of the venue’s management. It is currently in use on a daily basis, enhancing the atrium space with colors and GOBO projections from late afternoon until the mall closes and provides the potential for this to be updated seasonally in the future, including the use of custom GOBOs, as well as to be utilized to illuminate activations, special events and performances as they occur throughout the year.

As well as the hard work of his team, and their effective collaboration with the other contractors involved in the mall’s design and construction, Jeffrey contributes this success to the use of ADJ lighting fixtures. “We have been working with ADJ lighting – both as a retailer and installer – for many years, which means that we know what we’re getting when we buy from ADJ,” he explains. “We know that the fixtures will perform well and be reliable, which is extremely important for this project where the lighting will be used quite heavily. For a complicated install like this, it’s important to remove as many uncertain variables as possible, and we know that ADJ equipment will never let us down.”

Tangram Mall
133-33 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

ADJ Dealer
Canal Sound & Light

Installation Partner
AV Pros NY

Project Manager
Jeffrey Kwan

Lighting Programmer
Uriel ‘Chicken’ Coria

Brian J. Dowdle

Lighting Gear List
10 x ADJ Focus Spot 6Z
7 x ADJ Vizi Wash Z37
1 x Obsidian Netron EN12
1 x Obsidian ONXY NXWing