As part of the city beautification project, which was commissioned by the Bloor-Yorkville Business Improvement Area (BIA), Bloor Street has undergone a transformation, with regeneration works including new pavements, public art installations, landscape elements and street furnishings. This was all underpinned by a creative and inspiring lighting design conceptualised and created by Mulvey & Banani Lighting.

One of the most striking features of the project are the innovative public spaces – dubbed the “Urban Campfire Benches”. These 63 outdoor benches have a 270º circular shape and are made from wood, granite and stainless steel. Designed to celebrate art, business and community, the benches are illuminated after dark with colour changing LEDs that resemble their namesake campfire.

Each Urban Campfire Bench has a Lighting Playback Controller (LPC) from Pharos installed within it. Pharos Architectural Controls was appointed to the project through Luminism, which was responsible for the integration of the project, as well as several elements of custom fabrication. The LPC 1 is an award-winning, all-in-one control solution that features lighting design flexibility, standalone 24/7 operation, and powerful integration and remote management features. These controllers allow for the dynamic, precise, and fully customisable pre-programmed lighting effects, as well as on-demand control of brightness and colour for any individual bench via an integration link to head end controllers.

Each of the 63 benches are completely autonomous, and while fiery orange is the most common colour for the lighting of the Urban Campfire Benches, the Pharos LPC ensures that the benches automatically adjust to an array of different colours that suit a full year’s programme of diverse events, based on the seasons, public holidays, calendar events, and other special occasions.

As an added experiential element, visitors can interact with the lighting through two fire-shaped buttons installed on every bench. These house touch sensors, and there is an added ‘Easter Egg’ feature if the user discovers the correct input sequence.

As well as the LPCs installed into each of the 63 benches, there are six master control stations that also use Pharos LPC 1s – making a grand total of 69 LPC 1s for the entire project. The six master controllers, one on each block, allow the BIA to perform any short notice or last-minute overrides to the set programme. This enables the control of colours and effects across all of the benches. This feature is made possible by using Lumentalk, which is a proprietary DMX over power line communication. Lumentalk is a leading solution from Lumenpulse that allows lighting control data to flow over existing high voltage lines.

In addition to the Lumentalk solution, the fixtures in the benches have been supplied by another of Pharos’ partners, GVA, a Canadian manufacturer of innovative, high-end, specification grade architectural LED lighting systems, which has worked closely with Pharos on a range of worldwide projects.

The 63 benches will be a permanent fixture of the area’s urban furniture. They offer an engaging and safe place to sit, chat or rest, and are a unique must-see attraction of the area. The benches have been thoughtfully designed, with a sitting area for four to five people. An elm tree is planted inside each of the ‘campfires’, playing host to lighting decorations in the winter, while providing shade in the summer months.

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