This dimly lit square in Melbourne’s China town has been transformed with the installation of a startling and functional catenary lighting system.
The luminaire design system is particularly unique in that the catenaries serve a dual purpose. Each of the 10 cables performs its ‘traditional’ function supporting and supplying power to the luminaires clamped to them; however, they also support a large stainless steel ring suspended 5m (16ft) above the centre of the square. The ring measures 5.5m (18ft) in diameter and weighs in excess of 500kg (1,100 lb).
Chinese lanterns are supported at 6 points around the ring, with power supplied to the ring via the catenary cables. The result is a striking centre piece that delivers light exactly where it is needed creating a distinct and inviting ambience.
With the luminaire structure designed and the ring positioned in space, cable lengths were established with the aid of a 3D model that was built from the results of a survey of the bracket locations and ring.
Ronstan Tensile Architecture engineered the ACS2 cables in accordance with the model. Cables were prestressed at installation to accommodate elastic stretch at the predicted installed load. Temperature was also considered for its impact on cable length, before the cables were manufactured and brought to site.
Each cable was designed with just enough adjustment to facilitate the correct ring positioning and height of the supporting cable net with minimal number of turnbuckles.
Ronstan Tensile Architecture custom grade 316 stainless steel brackets were detailed, fabricated and electro polished for resistance to corrosion. The model cleats were aligned in the direction of the load, and the tension of all cables was monitored during commissioning to ensure that loads were in accordance with the structural engineer’s requirements. No component was overloaded.
Previous successful Ronstan Tensile Architecture luminaire design Catenary Lighting projects like the acclaimed Federation Square and the Bourke Street Mall re-development in Melbourne, all benefitted from the same level of detail and planning.