The beautiful Royal Liver Building in Liverpool is a Grade I listed building and part of Liverpool’s UNESCO-designated World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City. Alongside neighbouring Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building, it is known as one of Liverpool’s “Three Graces” overlooking the River Mersey waterfront.
Standing over 320ft tall over 13 floors, the Royal Liver building was originally constructed in 1907 to provide offices for the 6,000 employees of the Royal Liver Group. In 2019, Heritage Great Britain have begun to operate RLB360: a tour of the building and famous clock tower that has welcomed more than 32,000 visitors since its launch in the spring.
Lighting designers Arup, led by Lauren Blow, designed the new dynamic architectural lighting, as well as its new permanent lighting show named “Flight”.
The lighting design was developed through a set of on-site lighting trials until the final design was approved. Pharos partner LITE worked closely with Lumenpulse and the team at Arup to deliver a full turnkey solution, using a Pharos LPC for full show control of the fixtures.
More than 400 Lumenpulse RGBW DMX luminaires were installed to illuminate key architectural features, as well as narrow beam luminaires at the building’s cornices. Once installation was complete, the new lighting shows devised by Arup in the Designer 2 software were commissioned and tested. The first showing of “Flight” was at the start of November, for the first day of the annual River of Light festival; a five minute light show every 30 minutes that tells the story of the iconic building, set to a soundtrack composed by local artist Sam Crombie.
The new lighting brings the building to life at night with neutral washes, playful colourful displays, and many other bespoke shows which have been designed to celebrate other days in the city’s cultural calendar.
Simon Hepple, Director for the National Building Consultancy team in Liverpool, explains; “The new lighting experience is a vital part of the repositioning of the building and the first of its kind in the UK, showcasing Liverpool’s innovative spirit. We hope that it will bring joy to visitors to the city, serving as a location to meet, enhancing the waterfront and promoting the Royal Liver Building and Pier Head as a desirable destination to work and visit.”
“The scheme aims to rediscover the magnificence and form of the Grade I Royal Liver Building during the hours of darkness with a timeless external lighting scheme which transforms into a story-telling platform each night.”
Hepple continues, “The clocks and famous Liver Birds which adorn the Royal Liver Building are fundamental to the Liverpool story and city heritage and are interpreted during the light show. Millions of people have looked to these towers for the time of day and, throughout history, with the hope of security for their loved ones at sea. These towers will be brought back to life with light to reinstate the original purpose of the clock towers in a 21st century ‘digital’ format.”