Le Champ-près-Froges (France), 9th June 2016 – Airstar, the inventor and world leader in lighting balloons technology, is reaching new heights of success as its bright, non-glare products are adopted by indoor climbing rooms – completely eliminating the shadow effects created by traditional lighting.

Block’Out installs 11 balloons for its bouldering rooms
Created in 2008, Block’Out is a network of popular bouldering franchises found in major French cities. With six venues in total, including in Paris, Strasbourg, Rennes and Bordeaux, and soon in Auckland (New Zealand), Block’Out is the undisputed French leader in bouldering. Its success is based on an innovative concept, which combines bouldering areas next to restaurants serving fresh food exclusively.

According to Emmanuel Charruau, managing director and creator of Block’Out, the Airstar Pendulair balloons are intrinsic to the identity of his venues: “We were the first to opt for this type of lighting technology from Airstar. Because they are so different and original, these lighting balloons made us stand out to our clients. They are now installed across our entire network.”

The first balloon was installed in the B’O1 room of Cergy-Pontoise, North West of Paris, and measures two metres wide. The B’O2 room in Paris Saint Ouen hosts three 160cm wide Pendulair while the B’O3 in Evry is lit with three 130cm Pendulair. The Block’Out room in Rennes opted for two 160cm balloons while the brand new venue in Bordeaux boasts two 130cm and one 160cm Pendulair.

In Strasbourg, three 130cm Pendulair back up the ceiling lighting made of fluorescent lamps. The atmosphere changes gear in the evening when the lamps are switched off and climbers are lit with the Airstar balloons only, while electro music plays in the background.

For special or privatised events, the balloons are lowered to create a new atmosphere and fill in the space differently.

Charruau is delighted with the balloons: “We are very satisfied with them, the lighting is both smooth and efficient, and the balloons also have a great decorative aspect, it’s a real feast for the eyes!” he sums up.

The 1055 uses Airstar to solve typical lighting challenges
With a 5,000sqm space and over 200,000 visitors a year, the Leisure Centre 1055 in Lons le Saunier is the largest of its kind in Eastern France, offering diverse activities in a modern environment, including bowling, laser game, restaurant, mini-golf, as well as a kid zone.

To light up his brand new 120sqm climbing wall –which boasts no fewer than 130 routes that culminate at 15m – 1055 managing director Thierry Vuillaume asked trusted architects Bidot Architectes Associés to help find the best lighting solution available.

“I’ve been climbing for years, and I know how problematic indoor wall lighting can be”, Vuillaume explains. “Both the holds and the climbers body create shadow areas that are almost unavoidable, which in turn impairs the experience”.

The first option, consisting of metal-halide lamps, was rapidly dismissed: “It was both costly and complex to install. This would have meant fixing rails on the ceiling in order to hang the lamps, and get these lamps to light up the walls at various angles in order to minimise the shadows. Then you have to think about drawing cables. And when you add the labour costs and of course aesthetics to the mix, you quickly realise that you need a better solution.” he explains.

The architect turned to Arcom’s account manager Guillaume Poctier, an integrator of solutions for energy management, who suggested getting in touch with the Airstar European Network (AEN).

After running a few simulations on DIALux software, the Airstar team recommended hanging six lighting balloons from the Pendulair range. Measuring 130cm wide, and containing 16x 40W fluorescent lamps, the Airstar balloons deliver the required 300lux to light up the walls.

The end result is a simple electrical installation, boasting an efficient 360 degrees glare-free lighting which is also aesthetically pleasing. The Airstar balloons have been in use for six months, every day for 14 hours a day, and no maintenance has been required so far.

“Everyone keeps talking about these giant lighting balloons here”, smiles Vuillaume. “They are both beautiful and efficient at the same time. The main complaint from climbers comes from the shadows on a wall created by lighting, but with these balloons, we just don’t have that problem.

We have another room with traditional lighting, and the difference is blatant. We also save a lot of energy with the Airstar balloons. I am seriously thinking about upgrading the other room with more Airstar lighting balloons.