NEW YORK – There is a plethora of unique experiences to enjoy in Manhattan. Now a singularly exceptional one has been added to the list: the chance to enter the world of an aquarium fish. This opportunity takes place at Seaglass Carousel, a domed spaceship-like structure located at the southern tip of Manhattan in Battery Park. Unlike typical carousels, which feature ponies, unicorns and the like, Seaglass takes visitors on a ride inside giant tropical fish with shimmering colorful bodies made all the more vibrant by the intense output of 50 COLORado 2-Quad Zoom IP LED wash fixtures from CHAUVET Professional that were used in a design by Technical Artistry of New York.
A collection of 30 mechanical ‘fish,’ including a 14’ high angel fish, 11’ beta, 12’ yellow lionfish and similar specimens designed by George Tsypin, set designer for the Broadway version of The Little Mermaid, traverse this fanciful attraction. Carried along on three 17’ turntables that rotate back and forth up to five times a minute, the fish move with the undulating, yawing aquatic motions familiar to anyone who’s ever peered through the glass of an aquarium.
Visitors riding inside the bellies of these fish experience the sensation of moving through a tropical seascape, a liberating feeling that’s accentuated by the brilliantly colored light from the RGBW COLORado fixtures. Shining like a tropical sun, the output from the LED fixtures, which are positioned in a circle on the carousel’s domed roof, plays off the translucent bodies of the fish, even changing their colors. The colorful output from the fixtures also reflects off the turntables and surrounding areas, enlivening the entire carousel. The sounds of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Mozart’s 40th Symphony and similar musical accompaniments add to the transcendental mood inside the carousel.
“The carousel creates an immersive experience, and lights are a key part of it,” said Kyle Chepulis of Technical Artistry. “We installed the COLORados on a custom-designed steel lighting support ring overhead. The fixtures are used to light the room and create show looks. We make the lights and music different for each ride to create a unique experience.”
Technical Artistry of New York became involved in the Seaglass Carousel project, which was developed by the Battery Conservancy, when WXY, the architects that inspired, created and designed the carousel, invited them on board. “We have worked with WXY on many projects,” said Chepulis. “They called on us to contribute to the development of this one. The fixture types, layout, installation, design, use, maintenance all required creative solutions. We tested many LED PAR units for this project. The beam spreads and IP feature of the COLORado fixture made it the perfect choice.”
Powered by 14 Quad-Color LEDs, the COLORado 2-Quad Zoom IP LED has a wide-range zoom of 11° to 43°, which gives Technical Artistry of New York the flexibility to vary the looks inside Seaglass by moving from spot to wash lighting. The fixture’s 16-bit dimming also helps the designers achieve fades and low level lighting looks at different points during their show inside the carousel.
“Our goal was to create an environment that really sweeps people up so they forget they’re on a ride,” said Chepulis, who notes that the show was programmed on a rented ETC Ion and is run on a Medialon Showmaster Pro Mark II. “We wanted to engage visitors of all ages.”
Based on the reaction to New York’s newest unique attraction, the Seaglass Carousel design team has met this goal and more. In an article about the carousel, The New York Times described it as “a three and a half minute ride that might more accurately be called an immersion.”