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Motion Picture Association (MPA)

Application: Theatre and EntrywayDesigner: Gensler & Gaithersburg Architectural MillworkLighting Designer: Sara Demel of SBLD StudioPhotographer: Garrett RowlandLocation: Washington D.C.

Picture This: LED Lighting Sets the Scene in a Reimagined Screening Room

Flexible Q-CAP fixtures play many roles in the Motion Picture Association redesign.


In true Hollywood fashion, the Motion Picture Association's theater rolls out the red carpet for employees and guests who've come to screen films or participate in panel discussions. From the cinematic architecture to the bold finishes, every element was carefully considered to create a picturesque and grand vision. Sara Demel of SBLD Studios was the lighting designer tasked with setting the scene through illumination. Formerly an interior architect, Sara used her innate sense of design to enhance the architectural elements while creating an atmosphere that played into the theme of the space. 

The curvaceous entrance of the Gensler-designed space pairs moody black ceiling and walls with plush red carpeting, a nod to the classic celebrity runway. If not correctly lit, the dark environment ran the risk of feeling depressing. Sara solved the potential problem and created a warm welcome with LED cove lighting. "We were looking for a way to highlight the floor without the space feeling dead, so we created indirect coves around the perimeter using the static white WURM fixture as an indirect light source. We needed the fixture's unique bending capability to follow the architecture."

Upon entering the seating area theatre, the eye is immediately drawn to the screen by the playful curved paneling that runs along the walls, made of overlapping textures and colors. The flow of the detail was inspired by the look of film falling from a reel. Flexible Q-CAP LED fixtures border each portion of the wall, adding drama worthy of a room dedicated to the motion picture arts and enhancing the design concept.

Sara and the design team chose dimmable LEDs, ideal components of programmed light shows that support the various functions within the space. Options for the lighting include acting as wayfinding to invite guests into the space, indicating when intermission is ending, supporting focused panel discussions, and of course, allowing films to be the star while subtly illuminating egress. 

The sinuous lines of the textured wall required a mix of up-and-down bend and side-to-side bend fixtures. "Q-Tran had the products that were of the right size and scale. Another great characteristic of the products is they were both the same profile and fit within the same trim piece. This movement up and down the wall creates the swoops the design team was looking for." 

Not surprisingly, Sara enjoyed the process of designing the lighting for such a striking space. “This was a fun project, it involved a lot of hands-on integration, which I enjoy,” Sara shares. One can imagine that movie-goers will share her sense of fun while they enjoy films and discussions in this opulent space.


Do you have professional pictures of a project that used Q-Tran architectural LED lighting products? If so, we’d love to hear about it and feature you. Contact marketing@q-tran.com.

LED Lighting at Motion Picture Association (MPA)
LED Lighting at Motion Picture Association (MPA)
LED Lighting at Motion Picture Association (MPA)
LED Lighting at Motion Picture Association (MPA)
LED Lighting at Motion Picture Association (MPA)
LED Lighting at Motion Picture Association (MPA)