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Light Research @ MMU

Illuminasia in Blackpool

Installed across several large halls of the Blackpool’s vast,  venerable Winter Gardens, an exciting exhibition, Illuminasia,  has recently opened, showcasing a particularly evocative lighting tradition with which most Britons will be unfamiliar Drawing on the ancient Chinese art of lantern making, using silk fabric, steel rods and various luminaires, this is a display on a heroic scale. Advertised as the world’s largest indoor illuminations experience, the project invited 56 Chinese craft workers to the resort, and they worked on the designs in situ for nearly three months. The display uses 35,000 lamps, 27 tons of steel and an astonishing 20,000 acres of silken fabric. Illuminasia1

The exhibition is divided into discrete chambers including a portrayal of China’s renowned terracotta warrior, an emperor on his throne accompanied by Chinese birth signs, a ‘Blackpool Experience’ featuring the tower and other adornments laid out on top of a map of the town,  and an undersea world. Illuminasia3

The ‘Land of the Giants’ comprising a garden replete with insects and plants that dwarf visitors is a particularly magical realm, with beetles, ants and a huge goldfinch situated amongst the densely layered foliage, glowing with colours of deep rich luminosity.


Visitors conclude their visit by entering a time-honoured display of the wonders of the world, including the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Tower Bridge, the Sphinx, the Statue of Liberty and – most deserving of such an accolade – Blackpool Tower. The attraction supplements the town’s annual illuminations, adding to the richly creative tradition of producing local and vernacular forms of lighting and is highly recommended by LightResearch@MMU.



May 21st, 2014 - 11:42am

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