Radio Flyer, Chicago

The entrance to the Radio Flyer building reflects its energetic and whimsical spirit.
The entrance to the Radio Flyer building reflects its energetic and whimsical spirit.

Retrofit Team

ARCHITECT: Gensler, Chicago
LIGHTING DESIGNER: JR Lighting Design, Tinley Park, Ill.
ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: Grand Kahn Electric, Chicago


Radio Flyer officials decided the brick façade didn’t convey the company’s energetic and free-spirited work environment. It was too industrial and didn’t sparkle with Radio Flyer’s energetic and whimsical spirit.

A 167-foot-wide by 30-foot-tall tube-steel frame and channel-glass wall was created to provide a dynamic, colorful entrance experience into the company’s welcome area. The designers added programmable, color LED lighting to backlight the glass, based on the client’s vision. “Any element of the lighting system needed to be able to withstand the harsh conditions an outdoor permanent installation faces in Chicago’s winter and summer months,” notes Jason Reberski, JR Lighting Design’s president.

As such, all lighting instruments required an ingress-protection rating of at least IP65. The fixtures also had to be capable of performing in a long-duty cycle application while creating enough light to adequately illuminate frosted glass during daylight hours. The system had to be self-sustaining and self-programmable so there would be little staff interaction. Because the system covers one large surface, it needed to be illuminated evenly and show no signs of color variation. JR Lighting Design selected Acclaim Lighting’s Dyna Drum HO and Dyna Flood QA fixtures for the job because of their high lumen output with rich colors and high IP rating.

The fixtures feature an adjustable yoke, onboard digital display, a 100-277VAC internal power supply and a built-in receiver for Acclaim Lighting’s Aria wireless DMX transceiver. The compact, local, outdoor-rated wireless DMX transceiver acts as a sending and receiving point. Users can select up to 15 channels on the 2.4GHZ band. An internal, wireless radio features automatic networking and signal routing optimization to ensure the best-possible DMX data reception. The ARIA system includes a 5 dB, omni-directional antenna to provide transmission up to 2,600 feet line of sight and 300 feet between obstructions and walls. This installation represented the ARIA Wireless DMX technology’s first commercial use.

Dyna Drum HO and Dyna Flood QA fixtures illuminate the front of the building with rich colors day and night.
Dyna Drum HO and Dyna Flood QA fixtures illuminate the front of the building with rich colors day and night.

To showcase the giant, iconic wagon on the property, lighting designers installed all-white Dyna Flood QA fixtures. This high-power, LED flood unit features an auto-switching, multi-voltage power supply and an onboard, touch-sensitive menu.

The entire installation also includes Acclaim’s RDS, 6-way DMX + RDM splitter and optimizer. The unit features one RDM/DMX input and six outputs, providing flexible configuration of the RDM/DMX signal. Each port is isolated electrically to ensure a maximum total run of 3,900 feet for each signal line.

JR Lighting Design also specified the Interactive Technologies CueServer 2 DIN, an ethernetbased lighting-control solution that can blend standalone architectural and show-control functions to produce elaborate, customized playback.


The Retrofit

At Radio Flyer, the color red and wagons are at the core of the company’s 100-year-old heritage. The headquarters building, once a traditional, brick-clad manufacturing warehouse on West Grand Avenue, now welcomes visitors from across the world into the whimsical world of wagons, scooters, trikes, bikes and ride-ons with a new, shiny modern façade. The lighting project took nearly a year to complete, with revisions, systems modifications and programming completed by July 2017.

Editor’s Note: ARIA Wireless DMX was chosen by retrofit ’s readers as one of the Top 50 Products of 2018.

PHOTOS: Acclaim Lighting

Be the first to comment on "Offices"

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: