Manchester-based dbn Lighting has supplied a custom LED and control solution to the city’s Whitworth Art Gallery which will run for three months as part of the “Cotton : Global Threads” exhibition – a story about the production, consumption and global trade in cotton.
The light work involves the illumination of nine large windows on the top storey at the front of the building, with video material from a film – ‘Light Curtain’ – which is played back via a media server also supplied by dbn.
Challenges included having to fit all the necessary LED lighting equipment to light the windows into a 30 cm deep space, keeping each window’s physical lighting installation completely self-contained within its recessed space. Another requirement was that the installation did not damage or impair the Victorian fabric of the building – which is listed – in any way. Limited power was also a challenge.
A number of options were explored, from which dbn chose Chroma-Q DB4 LED battens and Chroma-Q ColorSplit fixtures; the latter offer a double bank of RGBA LEDs.
There are four of each type of fixture per window. The ColorSplits are positioned at the bottom of the window on the ledge with diffuser lenses lighting the lower half of the surface area. They are focused and angled to minimise any hot spot areas.
The DB4s are rigged onto crucifix shaped pieces of scaffolding, and highlight the top half of the window. The metalwork is propped into the window area with scaffold-jacks and all contained within the 30 cm depth of the window frame.
Each window is about three metres high and 1.5 metres wide, and all the lighting fixtures have been optimised to produce the smoothest, most even coverage of the target surface.
Films are also being projected onto two screens in front of the building each evening.The same footage is played back via a Hippo Critter media server through the LED units.