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PAI Installs Lighting, Sound for New Student Union

PLSN Staff • International News • March 31, 2010

CARDIFF, U.K. – PAI has completed the installation of a lighting and sound design for the new University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC) Student Union building, located at the Cyncoed Campus, north Cardiff. PAI has worked with UWIC and the SU's general manager Mike Davies for many years. The new bar and social area – called Centro – is one of the new building's main social hubs. PAI was approached to come up with ideas for the technical elements required for the two level multi-purpose space, which has a capacity of up to 400 people and includes a bar, lounge, dining and performance areas.


The university needed a solution that would work for both day and night time usage and be capable of accommodating a variety of uses from comedy shows to conferences, live bands to club nights. PAI's brief included integrating screens from multichannel TV provider SUB TV into the technical scheme.


The facility has an upper and lower bar, with a seating/dining area just to the side of the upper bar. PAI's team was led by account handler Andy Bonehill and project manager Ross Whitehead, and they worked closely with Swansea based interior designers, Thomas Parry, who created a contemporary look for Centro. The SU president Adam Painter was also involved in the whole process, and all works had to be co-ordinated with those of the university's main building contractor, Wilmot Dixon.


Everyone was keen that the wall with the video screens in the lower bar looked stylish and interesting, so PAI produced the idea of a 'media wall' feature, which involved a custom steel frame designed by Keith Elms and engineered in the company's workshop. The screens are mounted into this.


The lighting design is minimal but precise and was also created by Elms. Rigged behind the screens frame are color-changing LED PAR light fixtures. Another 4 LED PARs are attached to bars either side of the room at right angles to the media wall, used primarily to illuminate a mirror ball in the center of the room – adding a dash of retro to the ambience.


All the lighting elements are programmed into a Pulsar Masterpiece replay unit.


"It's a small installation, but quality and production values were really high on the agenda, to make it a bit classy and special for everyone's enjoyment," said Andy Bonehill. "Our challenge was to design something imaginative that met the brief, the budget and everyone's expectations – and all these targets were met."


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