I’ve been designing the lit environment for more than 30 years and I suppose it’s quite appropriate that my most difficult lighting challenge ever – in the entire 30 years – that was recently assigned to me by Artist Dawn Bendick – should have awareness of time at the heart of the artistic inspiration. Rather than paraphrase Dawn’s work you can read about how important time is for her and her work on this link:
The cast glass rocks – created by Dawn in collaboration with Acne Studios for their catwalk show – are sentinels of the past and the future – being moulds of ancient rocks that have been created with contemporary Alexandrite glass. This glass contained small amounts of rare earth minerals such as neodymium that reveal completely different colours according to the electrical characteristics of different white light sources. Dawn explained that it was this repeated variation in the colour of the glass that was essential to the success of the lighting for the catwalk show. Acne Studios had decided to bring the amazing glass rock stacks to London and display them in the window of their Flagship store at Dover Street for Fashion Week “and a few weeks more”.
A lighting design was needed that would replicate the catwalk lighting effects and vary continuously over the day and night. Cue many many lighting tests and experiments – bright sunlight, overcast skies, 2700k, 4000k, 6500k – high CRI light sources such as LED, Fluorescent and Metal Halide. And in the background HOW were we going to get these diverse light sources to dim or switch as we wanted – continuously over about 10 – 15 minutes?! So back to my time theme it seems entirely appropriate that to achieve what we wanted we used light sources and lighting techniques from the Nineties, Noughties and Twenty First decades.
So our intrepid band of lights included: From the Nineties high output compact fluorescent lamps 6500k, 95 CRI. From the Noughties point source metal halides 4000k, 85 CRI. From the 21st full spectrum colour LEDs, 90 plus CRI. To bring it all together we needed a bespoke control unit that could send dimming and switching signals at preset times, continuously throughout the weeks of display. Oh yes and we had to get all this installed into the window safely and neatly over a single night “get-in”. Time again.
The testing/planning and results are shown on the two gifs above. We’ve speeded them up to make the effects consistent. If you would like stills or further information please contact me or Dawn on
It took a lot of human beings too: massive thanks to: Acne Studios, Dawn Bendick, Phil, Howard & team at Commercial Lighting Systems, Roger & team at Light Projects, Brian & team at Multiload controls, Greg & team at Tomkins Electrical, Aaron & team at Checklist Property Maintenance and Andrew Tynan for the results photography..