Illuminating Capability Brown with SGM

Friday, 17 February 2017
comptonCompton Verney celebrated Capability’s legacy and brought it to life through a light ‘spectacular’ (photo: Jamie Woodley)
UK - Using ground-breaking LED technology from SGM, an interactive light commission entitled IN LIGHT: Illuminating Capability Brown’s Landscape, was created by light artist Laurent Louyer from Creatmosphere.
In November 2016, various celebratory events took place in 120 different parks and sites all across the UK. This was to mark the 300th anniversary of renowned British Landscape Architect, Capability Brown, an historically important figure known as “England’s greatest gardener”. Many of his more than 170 park designs still exist today. Amongst these is Compton Verney, which also houses an independent national art gallery.

Compton Verney celebrated Capability’s legacy and brought it to life through a light ‘spectacular’. Compton Verney’s curator, Penelope Sexton, had the idea to create an event outside on the grounds using light as a medium. She got in touch with Laurent Louyer and asked him to carry out the job. Louyer said about the assignment:

“I had the simple brief to ‘respond to the Capability Brown’s landscape’. So basically, I had creative carte blanche - which is a dream come true as an artist. I found the trees, water and architectural elements to be the crucial cornerstones of the garden, so I put them in focus. My aim was to get people to play and engage, but also to educate them about the landscape and architecture. One of the installations was an interactive display where people could connect with the environment and architectural elements by using light and colours.”

For the interactive installation, Loyer used 25 P-5 wash lights and five Q-7 flood/blind/strobes from SGM as giant brushes for people to “paint” trees and buildings. They were all controlled wirelessly via touch screens booths placed at key viewing points .

Additionally, seven G-Profile moving heads from SGM were programmed to effectively scan the landscape. They were located at very specific locations within the park where Louyer wanted to highlight predetermined parts of the visual landscape, adding another layer of discovery to the space. The fixtures were programmed to be out of sync, which ensured a dynamic, non-repetitive experience with varying sequences. It invited visitors to play with time, space and motion within their surroundings as they were not constrained to a specific timeline. It also encouraged people to discover certain viewpoints.

Reflecting on the use of SGM fixtures for the installation, Louyer said, “It’s the first time, I’ve used SGM fixtures in my projects. First and foremost, I picked them because of their great lighting performance. As it was an outdoor installation, a high IP-rating (IP65) was crucial. Compton Verney is potentially interested in making the installation permanent, so I had to think of a durable solution from the very beginning. The strong architectural fixtures from SGM were therefore an obvious choice. All in all, I could tick off a lot boxes, going with SGM”.

An important theme of the installation was sustainable lighting. Workshops were organised at the site discussing how to limit the power consumption and how to generate power in a sustainable way. The light installation itself was also completely aligned with this theme, using the LED fixtures from SGM and 1,000 solar jars on the lawn.

(Jim Evans)

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