When it comes to audio and lighting we have always seen them as two different worlds apart but when combined together, they can really elevate the atmosphere in almost any application, especially art-gallery spaces. For The Ranch in Montauk New York’s newest high-profile art-exhibition space, finding the right audio and lighting systems was a top priority. When art curator Max Levai purchased the 24.7-acre property in 2020, his intention was to convert it into a unique art-exhibition space.
The result is a destination worthy of the Hamptons and the area’s reputation as a place for America’s pop-culture icons. Max’s vision for The Ranch was to be a top of the class modern art-exhibition space that will draw on today’s technology to enhance the audience’s appreciation of the art on display. To reach that ambition, Levai decided to work with K-array to design and install sophisticated audio and lighting.
Max Levai and his architect Greg Tietjen wanted a lighting system that would represent the incredible natural light of Montauk and a sound system that would enhance the gallery experience, without being visually obtrusive. It was clear the solution had to be dynamic to adapt to the changing demands of exhibitions and events throughout the seasons while enhancing the colours of the artwork combined with a sound solution that created an immersive feeling for visitors.
The only natural light available was from the skylight in the middle of the main room which meant the quality of light in the corridors had to be of the highest quality available with a precise colour temperature that would work with the various art on show without a strong glare. Max wanted a variety of spots and linear lights highlighting certain objects and filling the room with background light to give him as many options as possible.
Having assessed the challenging six metre high ceiling and low corridors, which can be difficult for acoustic engineers, K-array USA along with Global Audio Systems decided they would need to treat the corridors and hallways as separate sound solutions due to the contrasting dimensions and sound level requirements.
The solution was a merging of light and sound utilizing the product line of K-array’s new brand KSCAPE. The RAIL system combines audio and lighting into one visually low-profile design. Each individual RAIL unit measures 1.2 meters in length and is equipped with high quality LED lighting; most, but not all of the RAILs installed at The Ranch are also equipped with speakers for sound reinforcement.
In the main gallery of the West Barn, 30 RAIL fixtures are hung pendant-style from the ceiling. 24 of the 30 RAIL are equipped with sound reinforcement; those are arranged in two parallel rows of 12 that run along the long sides of the room to create a full stereo system. Two K-array Kommander-KA24 amplifiers power the RAIL system’s audio components. They offer DSP and 4 channels of distributed audio each. One amplifier channel can handle 12 of the RAILs in sync with each other and can power up to 5 RAIL at a time.
Each 1.2-meter section of RAIL is made with 360 high-quality Nichia LEDs that provide a CRI greater than 95, which is ideal for art, in particular. And, thanks to the customization of the RAIL, glare control is made easy using the asymmetric linear (lighting option) at the right height to make it comfortable on the eyes.
The natural light in Montauk was our inspiration for the lighting system – it is really what makes this area so special and what we aspired to capture but, in a traditional barn, the goal was to achieve a solution that was versatile and could be tailored to the needs of the wide variety of artwork we will exhibit. K-array provided us with extreme latitude in adjusting the lights for the changing demands of the lighting conditions each unique body of work requires.