entertainment • presentation • installation

Robe wins award for exterior lighting

15 May 2006

UK - The prestigious 2006 Lighting Design Award for Best External Installation has been won by Blackpool's giant mirror ball installation, created as part of Blackpool Illuminations' Festival of Light 2005.

The project features six Robe ColorSpot 1200ATs that were specified by lighting designer Greg McLenahan and the Blackpool Illuminations team, for a project illuminating the largest mirror ball in the world - stationed on Blackpool Promenade. It was one of the new lighting features for the world famous Blackpool Illuminations' Festival of Light concept, switched on for the 2005 season. The fixtures were supplied by Blackburn based HSL.

The LD Awards judges commented: "You couldn't light it better," and were impressed that it "invited a high level of interaction with the public". The 2006 Lighting Design Awards - which recognises the most innovative and creative use of lighting in all types of environments - took place at London's Royal Lancaster Hotel, and was attended by over 700 lighting industry professionals and key practitioners. The Awards are sponsored by UK architectural lighting magazine Lighting. Councillor Eddie Collett, Blackpool Council cabinet member for regeneration and tourism, says: "We are absolutely thrilled and delighted that our stunning mirror ball has won such an influential award and is recognised on both national and international level."

The 20ft diameter rotating mirror ball, is named They Shoot Horses Don't They and has been in residence since 2002. It was created by Manchester-based artist Michael Trainor and is synonymous with the culture of ballroom dancing, for which the town is also historically renowned.

McLenahan, in conjunction with the Illuminations team, were commissioned to transform the glitter ball into a "new icon for the Illuminations". Apart from that brief, received from the then Festival director Philip Oakley, he was given a free hand as to how he achieved the goal.

Their aim was to make it - during a 15 minute repeated lightshow - contemporary, fun and a memorable sight bringing a distinct touch of glamour and sophistication to the sea front.

The ColorSpot 1200E AT's are mounded on customised 5m high posts, covered by special domes for weather protection - being directly exposed to the Irish sea, it can be an extremely hostile environment. The posts were designed and supplied by Blackpool Council's Illuminations engineering department. They are force air cooled to extract the heat of the fixtures form the small space.

McLenahan had not used Robe fixtures before, and he was considering his moving light options when Robe UK's Bill Jones turned up and demonstrated the powerful ColorSpot 1200 fixture in situ.

As soon as he'd seen the units in action, he knew it was the right luminaire for the project, "ColorSpot 1200 is a fantastic piece of kit" he says, "The optics and effects are amazing, the brightness and smoothness are awesome and they gave me all the scope to do everything I wanted with the installation. Apart from all that functionality, they are also incredible value for money!"

In addition to the lights being pointed directly onto the ball and changing colours, effects and gobos on its surface, the lights have been programmed by McLenahan to wander out into a small arena immediately around the Ball, making patterns in the floor and engaging in 3D animations and projections. All of this draws people in to enjoy the work as a living light sculpture. As well as being recognized by the LD Awards, local and visitor reaction to the new look mirror ball has been wholly positive.

(Chris Henry)


Tag Cloud

Robe award lighting UK won Blackpool mirror ball installation created project features team world Blackpool Illuminations' Festival of Light fixtures supplied light high level McLenahan Illuminations Apart Festival sea posts directly small ColorSpot 1200 A effects lights LD Awards

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