Popcorn in hand, soda to the right, the sound barrels through the speakers and the lights dim to near blackout levels, the ambiance of the room is perfect to escape from reality for a few hours.
The right environment can make or break an event instantly for those in attendance. When your favorite musician is about to play their first note, the mood set right before they play is of the utmost importance and light leaks can interrupt that mood and spoil the environment.
Wintrust Arena, new home to the DePaul University Blue Demon basketball teams and entertainment events, considered this exact scenario and focused on reducing light leaks it would receive throughout its new building.
To achieve this, installation of different blackout style curtains was needed. Using a mix of manual bi-part and one-way draw curtains along with numerous motorized roman shades, Flyhouse delivered on its promise to create an efficient and suitable atmosphere for all types of future events.
For the upper bowl seating and arena-ends, Flyhouse installed a series of remote operated roman shades to reduce light spill. The roman shades are of varying heights and widths, some upwards of 100 ft wide, to cover the expansive areas of windows and in hard to reach areas where a manual system would not be possible. The motorized component allows the shades to raise and lower at a variable speed of 20 feet/minute and uses a wireless controller that is able to operate at several locations within the arena. However, should the wireless controllers become inoperable, the system also has a hardwired pendant allowing the system to remain operational through another control point.
An added benefit of installing blackout curtains throughout the arena are the acoustical properties they gain. The heavier fabric used in these curtains helps absorb and dampen the sound emitted from the event and those in attendance.
The manual curtains are hand-operated at vomitory and aisle entry locations of the venue which will provide a reduction of ambient light seen by fans and performers. It required the use of 1,700 feet of I-Beam style tracks and nearly 1,800 curtain carriers to complete this portion of the installation.
Wintrust Arena is now in the position to offer the environment needed for each event; darkness or light depending on what is desirable to set the mood.