Moving in the light circles

“We need a LOT more incense” is not something I ever expected to say whilst at work….

We were recently approached by Sarah Wiestner of 1508 Design to help bring her vision for “Full Circle” to reality for Clerkenwell Design Week 2016. The concept being to create a temporary light art installation within Our Most Holy Redeemer Church, Exmouth Market in London’s Farringdon district.

Illumination Installation Church Ceiling Windows Lighting Designers Nulty

Taking inspiration from the large, circular windows and the beautiful natural shafts of light found within the church, the installation creates a circle of light on the floor of the nave, reflected from two sculptural forms located on either side.

We teamed up with Design on Impulse to create the sculptures; these guys battled against time and several challenges (such as a CNC machine breaking down at the 11th hour) to come up with a beautifully engineered solution to the lighting sculpture. Their extremely hands-on approach meant that the angles of incidence and reflection of light were carefully calculated and modelled. Each stand-off post was handcrafted to give the precise mounting angles for the mirrors.

Handcrafted Lighting Sculpture Installation Lighting Designers Nulty

Using powerful theatre lighting equipment, we projected very tightly controlled beams of light across the width of the church onto the reflective sculptures. We mounted them high up in the organ loft and spent quite some time perfecting the focus of the beam. To create the circle of light on the floor reflected from the “fractured” mirror sculpture required lots of “up a bit, down a bit……a bit more” talk. Very technical stuff! The resulting circle of light on the floor was made up of composite segments, and looked fantastic.

Reflective Sculptures Church Light Art Installation Consultants Nulty

Light is intangible and invisible until it interacts with a surface, but for the installation to be at its most impactful, we needed to see the beams of light. It’s traditional in Catholic churches to use incense in their worship, so we asked the Minister to burn as much incense as possible, to fill the space with smoke. We found ourselves in the organ loft saying “we need a LOT more incense!”

Light Art Installation Church Clerkenwell Design Week Nulty

The final effect was very ethereal and the Minister was so pleased with the result that he moved the church furniture around so that Full Circle could be “included” as part of the worship in their Thursday evening service, and the final night of a very exciting Clerkenwell Design Week. All in all, we think it was a “holy” successful event.

Blog by Trevor Morgan

Images: Trevor Morgan / Sarah Wiestner