In September 2011 Arup’s lighting team was invited to provide a lighting installation within the atrium of Sydney’s Custom House to coincide with the Sydney Architecture festival. Having previously housed a number of exciting temporary installations, the challenge of the atrium is its sheer scale and visual lightness.
Arup employed found objects in such a way as to create a temporary ceiling plane. This then provided the canvas for a lighting installation which employed LED technology to illuminate the suspended objects in saturated colour and black light. The final installation created by Arup was inspired by a flower structure known as 'Pappus'.
Think of a dandelion with its feathery bristles making up parachute formations that break free and drift unencumbered in the wind. An additional layer of light and texture is imagined by utilising coloured projections.
This idea was realised by suspending umbrellas in the atrium by multiple ropes. Recycled/ used/ broken umbrellas were stripped back of their membrane and entwined with hairy white rope from their ribs to their crook handle.
This symbolised a ring of fine hair-like bristles and creates the parachute structure. Feathery rope was wrapped around the tall columns and fixed at different points within Customs House atrium creating a 3D sculptural piece. In daylight, shape shifting shadows were produced by the installation, and by night the sculpture came alive with more vibrant colours and glowing lit effects.
The installation was switched on at the opening night and ran for the duration of the festival. This piece was made possible due to the kind support of Inlite and Barbizon who loaned luminaires and lighting control for the duration of the festival.
The 2011 Sydney Architecture Festival included over 60 events across the city comprising talks, forums, exhibitions and tours that inspired, delighted and informed us about architecture and important issues about the built environment in Sydney.