Shedding light on London’s WW1 centenary commemoration

At Nulty we live and breathe light (with the odd bit of oxygen for good measure, of course) so to have London’s WW1 centenary commemoration on the doorstep of our lighting design HQ was totally amazing.

The installation, called Spectra, by Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda, shone from dusk to dawn for a week and could be seen (up to 12 miles away) across the capital after dark.

The commemoration was both a sound and light art installation. The sound reminded us of sonar pulses mixed with white noise. It was the perfect accompaniment to the moving memorial; melancholic, respectful, reflective and nondescript.

The light had an almost ethereal quality – the strong beams highlighting airborne particles, insects swirling within them. It was reminiscent of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

The installation provided a level of interaction whereby people could walk through the grid of light sources – arranged in seven rows of seven – and just see over them; people were blowing smoke into them and using other objects to reflect the light – mostly hands, phones…there was even the creative use of an umbrella.

When viewed from afar a 15km-high pillar of light, made up of beams from the 49 floodlights placed behind the House of Lords, spectacularly converged at the zenith.

As architectural lighting designers we were in awe of the light art (and not forgetting sound) installation and are immensely proud that light, our passion here at Nulty, played such a huge and powerful part in London’s poignant commemoration.

Images: Vincent Kan (Nulty)