Utrecht Light Installation : in lumine tuo…

Dom Tower Building, Light Installation Utrecht, Photo, News, Dutch Design Project, Holland

Utrecht Light Installation : in lumine tuo…

Dom Tower Lighting, The Netherlands – design by Speirs + Major

4 Nov 2013

Light Installation Utrecht

Design: Speirs + Major

Videos of Dom Tower Light Installation

A combined video/animation sequence that reveals the story of the design spliced with how it appears in reality can be found at:

“In Lumine Tuo”

The Living Light of the Dom Tower, Dom Square & Dom Church, Utrecht, The Netherlands

By Speirs + Major

On 11 April 2013, a unique light installation was unveiled in central Utrecht. Switched on by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix to officially open the celebrations for the tri-centenary of the Treaty of Utrecht, the installation uses light as a narrative tool to connect the iconic 14th Century 112m high Dom Tower with the neighbouring Dom Church (St. Martin’s Cathedral) and Dom Square, allowing these to become living breathing entities that communicate their memories, recalling the layers of history that have defined the city.

The installation is the culmination of “Trajectum Lumen”, a project to promote the city and generate tourism through a trail of permanent light installations in the historic centre. Selected by means of a commission devised by the City and led by art curator Marijke Jansen, designers Speirs + Major proposed a concept much wider than just the buildings themselves – they set out to celebrate the full history and context of the city.

Beginning with a masterplan of the district, the idea centres on the buildings being viewed as a living organism, with the site forming the ‘body’ and the buildings making up its structure. Each of the Dom Tower, the Dom Church and the Dom Square can be abstractly and romantically viewed as important members of society. Light becomes the means by which they can communicate with each other and with the people in the city.

The three main elements are each treated with respect to their own character, befitting their historical and cultural significance. The light in the Cathedral “comes from within”. The outside faces are kept relatively dark, and the light glows through the stained glass windows and the internal faces of the buttresses, creating a lantern like effect. Conversely, the Tower, visible from many parts of the city, is the dynamic element. As the communicator of the narrative it is illuminated in dramatic style to both set off the Gothic architecture and to reinforce the idea of light coming from what are otherwise areas of shadow by day.

Whilst the static image of the whole piece is breathtaking, the true nature of the concept is revealed every fifteen minutes when, in time with the Tower’s clock, a light sequence begins: the three elements of the scheme begin slowly to ‘breathe’ in unity, establishing a connection between the elements. The play of light then accelerates, and ‘memories’, represented as bursts of light, appear to ascend the Dom Tower through the arch, balconies and bell tower. The sequence culminates just before the striking of the clock with a finale in the lantern, where the memories cluster and multiple flashes of light and shadow are unleashed to the sound of the pealing of the bells.

The end result of this project is entrancing. The sensitive use of light brings these historic elements of Utrecht to life, celebrating their forms and recording their significance in the psycho-geography of the city.

A video showing the lit sequence:

12 Apr 2013

Light Installation in Utrecht

Design: Speirs + Major

Dom Tower Light Installation

A new narrative based light installation called ‘in lumine tuo…’ designed by UK design firm Speirs + Major was unveiled last night, Thursday 11 April, in Utrecht.

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photos : Speirs + Major / photographer James Newton

Her Majesty Queen Beatrix, accompanied by His Highness Prince of Orange, Willem Alexander and Her Highness Princess Maxima, officially opened the celebrations for the tri-centenary of the Treaty of Utrecht by turning on the unique lighting installation that sets out to connect the iconic Dom Tower with the Dom Church and Dom Square. The piece is intended as both as a centrepiece for the city and as a fitting culmination to the ‘Trajectum Lumen’ initiative, a trail of artistic illumination that winds its way through the city centre every evening on the hour.

In lumine tuo…

Through their work ‘in lumine tuo…’, award-winning designers Mark Major and Keith Bradshaw use light as a narrative tool to unite the Dom Tower with the Dom Church and Dom Square in a unique and entrancing tableau. The title is an allusion to the Latin saying “In lumine tuo videbimus lumen” – “In your light we shall see the light” And, indeed, this work literally lights up the ecclesiastical history of the centre of Utrecht.

After dark, every fifteen minutes, the installation begins with the three elements beginning to ‘breathe’ as a lighting sequence connects and unifies them. Light glows through the stained glass windows and illuminates the internal faces of the buttresses of the Dom Church, depicting ‘the light from within’. In the Dom Square the memories of the past are recalled, the light highlighting the space where the west end of the Dom Church once stood, and marking out the Liberty Statue, a symbol of the Resistance in World War II. The play of light accelerates, and the memories appear to ascend the Dom Tower culminating in a dramatic finale in the lantern, where a burst of energy is unleashed.

Created with many tiny individually controlled LED modules, the work is interactive and the light effects are linked to the melodies from the church bells. Thanks to the LEDs, energy use is low and the running costs are kept to a minimum.

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photos : Speirs + Major / photographer James Newton

Dom Tower Utrecht Light Installation – Building Information

Project location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Artists: Keith Bradshaw and Mark Major
Lighting Design: Speirs + Major
Project Designer: Benz Roos
Programmers: Iain Ruxton and Daniel Harvey
Client: City of Utrecht
Art Consultant: Marijke Jansen
Project Manager: Kees Van De Lagemaat
City Engineer: Arthur Klink
Contractor: Heijmans N.V.
Main Suppliers: Proliad, ACDC, Pharos, Sill

Designers Mark Major and Keith Bradshaw develop environments in which light becomes an integral part of the location. In 2012 their practice Speirs + Major was named “Design Practice of the Decade” at the Lighting Design Awards. Light designs by Speirs+ Major can be found at Barajas International airport in Madrid, the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and in St Paul’s Cathedral in London, amongst other places.

Light Installation in Utrecht images / information from Speirs + Major

Speirs & Major

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