City of Long Beach

Long Beach, California, USA


Installation Description

Located south of Los Angeles, the city of Long Beach sits alongside the scenic shores of the Pacific Ocean and boasts a refreshing, resort-like atmosphere. During the 2008 holiday season, dynamic new lighting was unveiled, transforming the city’s landscape and highlighting its distinct personality.

Design Objective

The City called upon Mitch Payton of Showpro to illuminate several notable downtown landmarks in vibrant color-changing light. They wanted lighting fixtures that would consume little energy, require little to no maintenance, and produce colorful effects without the need for maintenance-intensive colored gels or filters. Also, the plans called for an installation in which fixtures could be controlled wirelessly across four city blocks — a first in public lighting design.


How Did They Do It?

Payton and his design team selected several thousand Philips Color Kinetics LED lighting fixtures to illuminate prominent buildings throughout downtown Long Beach. Each landmark was uniquely lit, creating distinct presences within a colorful landscape. With low energy consumption and the ability to generate color and dynamic effects without gels, filters, or mechanical scrollers, the LED lighting fixtures met all of the design objectives.


One of the landmark buildings, the Long Beach Convention Center, was already undergoing major restorations. The center’s most eye-catching renovation is the vivid lighting that bathes the glass atrium in color-changing light. The Convention Center uses over 100 high-performance ColorBlast® Powercore fixtures, ideal for wall-washing and floodlighting applications. Twenty compact ColorBlast 6 LED floodlights highlight the Center’s unique glass palm trees within the atrium.Outside, the Long Beach Terrace Theater Fountain displays a striking water feature that catches the eye of theatergoers and pedestrians. The fountain uses 60 durable and submersible C-Splash® 2 fixtures to produce colorful light shows in the fountain.

Near the Shoreline Village, a waterfront gazebo glows along the walkway of the Promenade. Overlooking the harbor, this birdcage-shaped structure is outlined by iColor® Flex SLX strands. These LED-based strings are composed of 50 full-color LED nodes, and their flexible structure allows for them to wrap around the building’s structure. Each node is individually controllable to produce dynamic light sequences and dazzling color-changing effects.

Along Rainbow Harbor sits the Lions Lighthouse for Sight. This 105 ft (32 m) structure is illuminated by three high-performance ColorReach™ Powercore architectural floodlights and 12 ColorBlast Powercore fixtures. These floodlights project colorful, uniform light onto the lighthouse. Visible from both land and sea, the dynamic lighting makes a distinctive impression on the shoreline.

Lively lighting also spans four city blocks of Pine Avenue, between Ocean Boulevard and Third Street, rejuvenating the facades of restaurants, hotels, and historical buildings. Five ColorReach Powercore fixtures illuminate the historical buildings' roof-edged molding and saturate the buildings in colorful light.

Each installation is controlled with an iPlayer® 3 controller, using ColorPlay® 3 authoring software to design the content for the light shows. Some installations, such as the ColorBlast 6 installation at the Convention Center and the ColorReach Powercore installation along Pine Avenue, use wireless control to eliminate the need for wiring where it would have been difficult or impossible to install.

The lighting project was made possible by a consortium of community groups, including the City of Long Beach, Long Beach Redevelopment Agency, Downtown Long Beach Associates, Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, Long Beach Transit, and City Light & Power, Inc.

The Result?

The LED lighting breathes new life to buildings, while encouraging everyone - residents and visitors alike - to experience downtown Long Beach and all of its offerings.

System Integration: Mitch Payton