Southbank Centre is a world-famous, multi-venue arts centre based in Central London. Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery recently commissioned renowned artist David Batchelor to create Sixty Minute Spectrum; an art installation which transforms the Hayward Gallery roof into a chromatic clock using dramatic colour. Having worked on numerous projects at Southbank Centre, Pharos partner White Light was approached to provide the technical solutions to make David’s design a reality.
David came up with the idea of a spectrum clock to showcase a range of colours over a certain period of time, saying; “I have worked with Ralph Rugoff, the Gallery’s Director, in the past and he wanted me to create something spectacular which would be a fitting way to celebrate the reopening of the Gallery. I wanted to use the gallery’s unique pyramid rooflights to move gradually though the entire visible chromatic spectrum every 60 minutes. Starting and ending the hour with a vivid red, I wanted solid colours to appear at different points throughout the cycle. In a city the size of London, there is so much competition visually in the sky at night. We needed something to truly stand out and solid colour is a great way to achieve this.”
With David’s concept finalised, WL was approached to provide the technical solutions. The project was overseen by WL’s Systems Design Engineer Ian Davies and the on-site Installations Team was led by WL’s Engineering Manager Patrick Lockwood. WL worked on the two roofs of Galleries 4 and 5 at the Hayward.
Ian explained: “We initially had a demo running on site for three months on one pyramid to ensure we were happy with the output. Once we realised this offered enough brightness, we began with the larger install. With David’s design being so specific and dependent on timings, we had to supply a technical set up that was completely reliable.”
The pyramids were fitted with 76 x RGB LED battens which were created specifically for this project by WL. To control the fittings, WL installed a new equipment rack in the Switch Room along with 2 X ISTL Thor 36 LED channel drivers to control the LED. Cabling was run to the rooftop to feed the LED. The LED drivers were controlled by a Pharos LPC2. All LED was driven in 16 bit mode to consistently deliver the various colours and ensure smooth fade transitions.
David commented, “I am absolutely delighted with the support of WL in helping to bring my design to life. We have created something dramatically striking with Sixty Minute Spectrum and it hopefully provides an exciting countdown to when the building officially reopens in January 2018.”