GE Lighting will sponsor PlayhouseSquare’s new outdoor chandelier, to be lit May 2

General Electric Co.’s lighting division is betting its reputation that a gigantic, highly visible outdoor chandelier at PlayhouseSquare will keep shining no matter how nasty the wind and weather get.

Cleveland’s theater district is announcing Monday that GE Lighting, the division of General Electric that is based at Nela Park in East Cleveland, is sponsoring the outdoor installation, which will be called the GE Chandelier.

“We’re putting this thing of beauty out in the elements — everything that Cleveland has to throw at it, from the hot to cold to the windy,” said Tom Einhouse, vice president for facilities and capital at PlayhouseSquare.

The theater district, which envisions the 20-foot-tall, 8,000-pound chandelier as a glittering outdoor centerpiece, released plans for the project and other improvements in April.

In all, the nonprofit PlayhouseSquare Foundation is spending $16 million to improve outdoor signage and digital displays and amenities at Star Plaza.

Consultant Danny Barnycz of Baltimore designed the various streetscape elements.

PlayhouseSquare declined to give a dollar value for GE Lighting’s sponsorship, or how much it has raised for the overall $16 million project.

The sponsorship includes a one-time installation of 68 LED (light emitting diode) fixtures in the chandelier, which is being manufactured in Montreal by Lumid.

14081981-mmmainThe chandelier is scheduled to be completed and lighted with a gala benefit on May 2, according to a press release.

Einhouse said the GE fixtures operate at 25 watts apiece or a total of 1,700 watts for the entire chandelier.

That’s one-fourth of an alternative HID (or high intensity discharge) lamp system PlayhouseSquare was also considering, Einhouse said.

“These [GE LEDs] are specifically designed for the outdoor environment, so they will stand up to wind and rain,” Einhouse said.

Because the LEDs generate very little heat, they won’t be susceptible to thermal stress from Cleveland’s harsh freeze-thaw environment. You won’t see steam coming off the lamps in cold weather, Einhouse said.

He also said the lamps will produce an aesthetically pleasing glow.

“They’re just a bit more crisp and will allow a little more of a twinkle, a nice crisp reflection in the [chandelier] crystals,” he said. “It will be subtle.”

The Plain Dealer