Montreal’s Rialto Theatre Revives Iconic Façade With HARMAN’s Martin Professional Architectural Lighting

MONTREAL, Canada — Since 2010, Montreal’s Rialto Theatre has undergone extensive renovations to bring the historic venue back to its former glory. Originally built in 1923 and designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1993, the venue has undergone several changes throughout its lifetime from its original use as a cinema to a high-end steakhouse in 2000 to the live entertainment space it now offers. After its 2010 purchase by current owners/operators Ezio Carosielli and Luisa Sassano, the venue has revitalized both the interior space and the iconic architectural elements of its façade, including a new exterior lighting system outfitted with HARMAN’s Martin Professional architectural lighting solutions.

When structural renovations in the summer of 2014 presented an opportunity to refresh the façade, Garou Blancan, the Rialto’s Technical Director and winner of Martin Professional’s 2014 Young Lighting Designer Contest, designed a solution consisting of 46 Martin Exterior and Tripix fixtures. “I wanted to make the design as simple and efficient as possible,” noted Blancan. “I’ve worked with Martin fixtures for over four years. The effort they put into research and development truly translates to their products.”

The façade features many fine architectural details that Blancan wanted to highlight, so he broke his design into five zones, with each zone focusing on a different element of the façade. Zone 1 has four Martin Tripix 1200 IP66-rated LED strips to light the Rialto Theatre Ornament above the main entrance, while Zone 2 features six Martin Exterior 50 IP68-rated fixtures to illuminate the façade roof. Blancan installed 15 Tripix 300 LED strips in Zone 3 to highlight the circular windows across the upper level of the façade and below in Zone 4 he used 15 Tripix Wash fixtures in the mid-level to cover the façade’s tall windows and columns. Zone 5 illuminates the area above the Marquee with three Exterior 410 fixtures per side.

“The owners wanted to stay more reserved with lots of white and softer colors,” said Blancan. “Martin’s LED white is incomparable and with the Tripix series we were able to mix color directly at the lens to avoid shadows.”

Blancan was also required by the ownership to hide the fixtures from street views, which also meant housing the power supplies and control inside the theatre. As a national landmark and designated historic site, the ownership needed special permission to drill holes through the façade surface to lead power and control cabling from the fixtures to the control and power supply units inside. With cold temperatures reaching negative degrees Fahrenheit during Canadian winters, it was important for not only the fixtures to withstand the cold but also for the cable holes to be properly sealed from moisture to protect the façade from cracking.

“Throughout this past winter we had temperatures as low as -40 degrees and the Martin fixtures withstood the cold without issue,” said Blancan. “To prevent cracking around the holes in the façade surface I used marine epoxy to create a waterproof seal around the cables.”

 To control the exterior lighting design, Blancan deployed Martin’s M-PC software with USB-DMX interfaces. According to Blancan, he chose M-PC due to its RDM compatibility and to maintain consistency with the other Martin components in the design.

 “I am a huge supporter of Martin controllers,” said Blancan, noting that he recently won Martin’s M2GO portable console as his prize for the 2014 YLD contest and uses an M1 console at the Rialto as well. “The M-PC software is very architecturally friendly; you can easily pre-program shows and it’s the same software as Martin’s other M-Series consoles.”

Learn more about Garou Blancan’s work in the lighting industry by visiting Martin Professional’s Wall of Dedication:

For more information on the Rialto Theatre, please visit:

For more information on Martin architectural lighting solutions, please visit:

As a world leader in the creation of dynamic lighting solutions for the entertainment, architectural, and commercial sectors, Martin lighting and video systems are renowned the world over. Martin also offers a range of advanced lighting controllers and media servers, as well as a complete line of smoke machines as a complement to intelligent lighting. Martin operates the industry’s most complete and capable distributor network with local partners in nearly 100 countries. Founded in 1987 and based in Aarhus, Denmark, Martin is the lighting division of global infotainment and audio company HARMAN International Industries. For more information please visit:

HARMAN ( designs and engineers connected products and solutions for consumers, automakers, and enterprises worldwide, including audio, visual and infotainment systems; enterprise automation solutions; and software services. With leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® , Mark Levinson ® and Revel®, HARMAN is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform around the world. HARMAN also is a technology and integration services leader for the Automotive, Mobile, Telecommunications and Enterprise markets. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. The Company’s software solutions power billions of mobile devices and systems that are connected, integrated, personalized, adaptive and secure across all platforms, from the work and home to car and mobile. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 25,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $5.9 billion during the last 12 months ended March 31, 2015
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