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Light Research @ MMU

Manipulating the illumination of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Darling Quarter

One of the delights of Sydney’s Vivid light festival is the plenitude of interactive attractions. Two of the most extraordinary are Colour the Bridge and Luminous Nights. Colour the Bridge is facilitated by the touch screen situated on the North side of the harbour which allows you to design the light displayed on the mighty steel arch of the Harbour Bridge. touch screen - designing the harbour bridge lights

Visitors are able to choose colours from a broad spectrum to transform the appearance of four elements that consitute the essential horizontal and vertical lines of the bridge’s design. In addition, certain  lines can be made to pulse with changing colours, so that each design is the unique creation of the operator of the screen.

 designing the lights on the Harbour Bridge

Luminous Nights has been installed in Darling Quarter since 2012 and runs outside the festival. Billed as the world’s biggest interactive permanent light display, the canvas upon which the public can paint with light extends for the 150 metres and four levels of the two sections of the Commonwealth Bank Head Quarters. Deploying advanced LED systems, light is manipulated via two digital touch screens, allowing for a vast array of colours and patterns to instantaneously transform the feel and appearance of the building.Luminous2Luminous1Luminous3

 It is an amazing experience to realise that you are responsible for the appearance of such enormous structures at the touch of a few buttons and the two displays conjures up future possibilities of allowing citizens to shape the mood and appearance of cities

May 30th, 2014 - 02:59am

Fête by Ron Haselden at Durham Lumiere

I visted Durham’s Lumiere  last weekend, at present Britain’s largest light festival. The stunning medieval setting of Durham provides a magificent setting for the numerous lighting installations scattered across the town, ranging from locations in parks, modernist architecture and public squares.

This year, the light works were extremely diverse. Large scale projections of the ancient Lindisfarne manuscripts lit up the amazing cathedral and a trumpeting African elephant bestrode the old Elvet Bridge. For me, however, highlights included Raphael Lozano-Hemmer’s giant helium ballon Solar Equation,  Aquarium, a red telephone box converted into an illuminated home for fish, a display of lit plastic bags as street decorations and the constituents of a ‘consumerist’ Christmas tree that highlighted the effective simplicity of illuminating everyday objects, and Sanctuary, Sarah Blood’s bizarre neon nesting boxes located in the trees of St Oswald’s Churchyard with  accompanying recordings of  bird sounds performed by humans.

Lumiere - Aquarium













Lumiere - consumerists decorations


Lumiere - Solar Equation



Lumiere - nestbox

My favourite was Ron Haselden’s Fête, located on a rather lonely stretch of parkland adjacent to the River Wear that runs through the city. Strings of carnival lightbulbs switch on and off in sequence, accompanied by alternating snatches of fairground music emanating from speakers located around the display.  The installation evocatively conjured up the atmosphere of an abandoned or closing fairground, heavy and sharp with nostalgia.

A close second was the rather unheralded [M]ondes located in the inside of the cathedral by Roland Devocelle and Audrey Rocher, collectively known as Atsara. Above the nave, flickers of light appear, move and vanish, akin to fireflies. The setting added to the mysterious quality of these unphotographable evanescent, fluid installations that appeared out of darkness and swiftly disappeared.

Fete Lumiere










November 21st, 2013 - 11:59am

Si-o-Seh Pol bridge, Isfahan

Located in Isfahan,Iran, the 300m Si-o-Seh bridge, constructed in 1602, comprises of 33 arges linking a series of pontoons floating on River Zayandeh. The bridge not only allows people to travese the river, but it also functions as dam helping to irrigate surrounding farmland. The bridge also accommodates a series of frescoes and a tea house.




May 1st, 2013 - 08:32am

Boston Light Bridge

Susanne Seitinger, who joined us at the  AAG conference in Los Angeles, introduced us to a fascinating presentation about the potential of light design to transform space in multiple ways.  She has been working on the creation of this wonderful light bridge, that connects Boston with Cambridge.  See also the bridge devised by Leo Villareal discussed elsewhere on this blog.

April 22nd, 2013 - 11:26am

Leo Villareal Bay Lights

Leo Villareal’s Bay Lights project in San Francisco transforms the city’s Oakland Bay Bridge into grand spectacle through an animated display utilising 25,000 LEDs. The project will run to 2015 and unusually the $8 million funding is being crowd sourced. For more information checkout the Bay Lights website.

Source: Wikipedia

April 13th, 2013 - 21:36pm