Iluminarc Links Light at Cambridge e-Luminate Festival

Project date
April 11, 2014

CAMBRIDGE, UK – The University of Cambridge, is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world, counting giants from science (Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking went here), music and the arts among its alumni. It’s only fitting then, that in 2012, almost one thousand years after the school’s founding, its hometown celebrated this cultural and scientific heritage by playing host to e-Luminate, a week-long lighting festival aimed at connecting art and technology through the medium of light. Among the highlights of this year’s event was a richly colored lighting display on historic Guildhall that was created with a collection of Iluminarc fixtures from Chauvet.

A Victorian style natural stone building located in the centre of historic Cambridge and owned by the city, Guildhall provided an ideal backdrop for the interplay of vivid hues produced by the Colorist Pod 7Qa and Colorist Panel 8Q. Strategically positioned on the building’s balcony by lighting designer Simon Cox, the RGBA fixtures accented the distinctive architectural features of the popular Cambridge landmark.

“The e-Luminate festival aims to highlight new energy efficient lighting technology using the historic Cambridge back drop and local lighting designers to bring the pieces together,” said Cox, who has been involved with e-Luminate since its inception. “When organizers asked me this year to design the entire façade of the Guildhall in line with the theme of 2016 – Linking Light, I decided to play both sets of Iluminarc fixtures off of one another to give emphasis to the theme.”

Cox positioned seven Colorist Pod 7Qa fixtures on the first floor balcony to illuminate the columns between the windows with concentrated beams of light. “I selected the Colorist Pod 7Qa fixtures for their strong saturated color washes,” said the LD. “The addition of the Amber LEDs offered softer pastel colors and enabled me to highlight the natural stone color of the columns beautifully.”

To illuminate the window bays across the façade, Cox placed a further six Colorist Panel 8Qa fixtures on the first floor balcony to work in unison with the Colorist Panel 7Qa fixtures. “The Colorist Panel 8Qas offer the exact same saturated color features as the 7Qas, but with the added benefit of being able to distribute light over a wider surface area thanks to the LED’s panel formation,” continued Cox. “This feature was perfect to wash all the window façades with color. The contrast with the light coming from the panels and pods added depth to the display.”

The whole design was programmed by Cox and run on CHAUVET Professional ShowXpress software. Utilizing the programming power of this software, Cox, built up the façade in one color and then built down linking in to the next part of the color sequence. Further linking looks were utilized to offer big blocks of color and alternate split color states between the columns and window bays.

Cox credits the Synapse 4 intelligent relay pack with helping to make his display more energy efficient. “We used the Synapse 4 to schedule the power for the fixtures on the façade,” he said. “The Synapse 4 was scheduled to provide power from 4PM though to 11PM for the duration of the event. This solution allowed the installation to be split in to two mains voltage circuits and powered independently to reduce the power draw at switch on.”

Since the fixtures were suspended on the balcony, safety and security was of prime importance to Cox. “As both Iluminarc fixtures feature a sturdy mounting bracket, this allowed me to place the fixtures on the balcony stand alone and maintain the clean illumination of the façade without having to install any additional hardware,” he said. “It was also very easy to complete the installation due to the integral IP rated power and signal cables.”

“Given the historical importance of the city and its contribution to the arts and sciences, the Cambridge e-Luminate festival certainly has a lot to live up to,” continued Cox. “I’m happy that I was able to marry a modern lighting design into the traditional Guildhall setting.”

Among the many functions that Guildhall serves at Cambridge is to serve as a site for the university’s examinations. Although the Cambridge e-Luminate Festival was not a test, it was readily apparent to anyone who saw this venerable building during this event that Simon Cox’s interlocking lighting design clearly made the grade.