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Harrah’s decided to update and expand the successful Range Steakhouse, a Western-themed restaurant in North Kansas City, MO. Harrah’s wanted a more contemporary look, a canyon setting. They wanted guests to feel as though they were actually cooking out on the range.
Using various colored gels on the downlighting and accent lighting, the interior and lighting designers on the project created the look of a canyon at sunset. In the center of the restaurant, a grill sits in a rock wall mural that was embedded with neon strips to simulate flowing water. In the lounge area, which is designed to transition customers through the canyon into the open space, underlighting showcases the Mexican onyx bar. Internal neon lights in a glass panel and around a bronze mirror add to the atmosphere. Screen partitions designed as trees were fitted with colored accent lighting.
One of the challenges, according to Valli Wiggins, interior designer on the project with the Hnedak Bobo Group in Memphis, TN, was creating a dramatic look but preventing the area from being totally backlit, since the restaurant is approached from a lighted pavilion.
The ability to set the levels of all the lighting elements allowed guests to enter into the darkened space, their eyes easily adjusting to the lower light levels. According to Wiggins, “This was one of the few times we designed the whole look including the special effects lighting and then found a lighting control system that would perform as planned.”
“A restaurant or themed space is only partially successful unless the mood matches the design. The space has to feel as good as it looks. Preset dimming allows you to create the mood.”
According to Benya, a multi-scene programmable dimming system offers the best control with the maximum flexibility. With its modular approach, a versatile preset dimming system allows a single panel to provide the capability and the flexibility to change down the road, at substantial cost savings over individual controls.
The Lutron GRAFIK Eye 4000 system was selected to control all the lighting in the renovated entrance, bar area, and dining room. The lighting system was comprised of 14 zones, integrating control of both the architectural—table lighting, accent lighting, and downlighting—and all special effects lighting. The zones were preset and recalled using a single, easy-to-operate system that acts as an essential element in the design of a visually dramatic setting.